U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania County, on Wednesday introduced the Supporting Small Business and Technical Education Act along with a bipartisan group of congressional members, according to a news release from her office.
The legislation would require the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist small business owners in hiring graduates of career and technical education programs.
The proposed law is also supported by Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who introduced partner legislation in the Senate.
The release states that fewer Americans are pursuing careers in skilled trades at a time when older Americans who provide these services are entering retirement and as a result the national economy is lacking workers in key industries, such as construction and nursing.
The Supporting Small Business Career and Technical Education Act aims to solve both problems, according to the release.
“The bill helps small business owners fill gaps in their workforce by connecting them with graduates of vocational programs through the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and Women Business Centers (WBC),” the release states. “The Supporting Small Business Career and Technical Education Act also offers resources from the SBDC and WBC that can assist graduates from vocational programs in starting their own small businesses.”
In a prepared statement, Gluesenkamp Perez said success is too often defined as having a college degree as career and technical education programs face a lack of investment.
“Not only do we need to expand these programs, but we also need to make sure that students can be connected to good-paying jobs after they graduate,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.
The bill can be read in full online at https://bit.ly/40vVlIY.