Washington, DC –Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA14) introduced legislation that would help unemployed and underemployed adults acquire workplace skills that are currently in demand. The bill is modeled after the work being done by the Manchester Bidwell Training Center in Pittsburgh.
“Manchester-Bidwell has successfully provided adults and at-risk youth with valuable skills to make them competitive in the workforce,” said Senator Casey. “The National Program for Arts and Technology Act would use these successes to help people across the country to attain the same results. I can think of no better program to replicate nationwide.”
“For years the Manchester-Bidwell Training Center has been providing people with the skills they need to get decent jobs – jobs that make it possible to support a family,” Congressman Doyle observed. “In recent years, the Center has shown that its successful model for education and job training can be replicated in other communities. I think it only makes sense to build on what’s worked and establish a federal program to create similar centers in economically distressed communities across the country.”
Senator Casey introduced the National Program for Arts and Technology Act in the Senate with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Congressman Doyle introduced it in the House of Representatives.
The National Program for Arts and Technology Act would provide education and training to unemployed adults and at-risk children so they are able to attain in-demand job skills. The bill would authorize the Secretary of Education to award competitive grants to community-based organizations with a plan for developing a center that:
- Provides education and training to underemployed and unemployed individuals
- Meets quarterly performance goals, which may include:
- students’ school attendance and behavior
- recruitment and enrollment metrics
- student outcomes and performance in training
- job placement
- Obtains non-federal matching dollars of at least 1:1
“One of the biggest barriers to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth in our country today is the mismatch between the skills businesses need and the skills many Americans possess,” Congressman Doyle said. “One of the best ways to eliminate this barrier is to teach at-risk youth and the unemployed these critical job skills. The Manchester Bidwell Training Center has a tremendous record of success in keeping at risk youth in school and in providing industry-specific job training programs for under- and un-employed adults. We believe that these results can be replicated in economically distressed low-income communities across the country by establishing Centers for Arts and Technology nation-wide that are based on the education and training model developed by the Manchester Bidwell Training Center, and that’s just what the National Program for Arts and Technology Act would do.”