Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) reintroduced the American Manufacturing Jobs for Students Act, legislation intended to provide career education and counseling about local manufacturing jobs for middle and high school students.

“It is critical that we provide resources to help connect Ventura County’s students with 21st century careers, while helping local businesses find the high-skilled workforce they need from within their own communities,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “My bill will help bridge that gap, so that students who grow up here can be connected with exciting and innovative job opportunities close to home.”

Brownley first introduced the American Manufacturing Jobs for Students Act in 2014 as part of a comprehensive package of Make It In America legislation led by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) designed to both help students jumpstart their careers and strengthen America’s businesses.

“Rep. Julia Brownley understands that a strong middle class begins with more Americans able to access manufacturing jobs that pay well and open doors of opportunity. She has been a leader in Congress when it comes to helping grow our manufacturing sector by introducing legislation that will encourage secondary school teachers and guidance counselors to connect students with career information and internship opportunities with local manufacturers. Rep. Brownley continues to be a tireless advocate for the interests of California families and is working to ensure that they have access to the kinds of economic opportunities that make the American Dream attainable,” said Democratic Whip Hoyer.

Local business leaders also shared their support for the measure:

  • “The American Manufacturing Jobs for Students Act is a fundamental acknowledgement by Congress that highlighting the opportunities and benefits of careers in manufacturing will positively affect student academic choices and ultimately serve to reinvigorate the national manufacturing workforce. These skilled employees drive the highly competitive and strategic economic manufacturing sector, and without a replacement generation – as we face today – the United States will certainly slide away from its central role on the world stage. We now know by direct experience in Ventura County, CA, that authentic exposure to local industry is a crucial and effective element in inspiring young people to make the right choices towards achieving careers in high technology manufacturing,” said William Pratt, Vice President of Operations and Director of Creative Design at Kinamed, Inc. in Camarillo.
  • “Manufacturing is big in Ventura County and key to the long-term economic vitality of our region and many others in the nation. It also pays the highest average wages among industry sectors, yet these employers are having trouble finding qualified workers. Helping young people become acquainted with manufacturing careers is an important strategy to ensure we have a qualified workforce for this sector, and offers young people a fulfilling career that pays well,” said Bruce Stenslie, President of the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County.
  • “In the U.S. alone, about 318,000 manufacturing jobs go unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers, and that number is growing as so many people employed in this industry are baby boomers who are retiring. Still, manufacturing is a very promising industry that is vital to the U.S. and global economy. It offers high-paying, clean technology careers. Efforts to help grow a local, qualified workforce are a win-win for young people seeking career paths, and local manufacturers who need qualified workers,” said Kathy Looman, Gene Haas Foundation administrator.

Under current law, the Department of Education provides grants to elementary and secondary schools for student counseling services. The American Manufacturing Jobs for Students would encourage schools to provide career education about local manufacturing jobs and would support student engagement and professional relationships with local businesses through workplace visits and hands-on learning experiences.

The bill text can be found here: LINK

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