Congresswoman Michelle Steel, along with her House colleagues Reps. Elise Stefanik, Rick Allen, and Julia Letlow, introduced legislation recently that will help Americans wanting to return to the workforce get jobs that are in-lock with their skill sets from prior experience.
Called the Validate Prior Learning to Accelerate Employment Act, the bill helps to both identify and validate skills a worker has from previous life experience, including from the military, education, and past jobs.
Steel said the bill is crucial at a time following the end of the pandemic, where Orange County is still missing hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“Now more than ever it’s critical that we help employers and workers get back to business. Orange County is still 345,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. This bill will help connect qualified employees with businesses who will value and utilize their experience,” Rep. Steel said.
The legislation would update the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to prioritize the use of tests that measure a worker’s learning and skills to award certificates to individuals that will be recognized by the industry they plan to work for.
In essence, the bill will be favorable for employers who are looking to hire qualified employees based on the actual skills they have attained, and less on college degree requirements. It will also allow for collaboration between education providers and businesses to identify assessments that can validate skills that are in-demand by different industries.
“Learning in the twenty-first century happens well beyond the classroom walls,” Rep. Stefanik said. “Empowering today’s workers requires shifting away from valuing their abilities based solely on the degrees they hold. Instead, we must look at the skills and competencies they bring to the table. My legislation modernizes how the workforce system recognizes and credits skills gained through a broad array of experiences, including through the military and prior work, and will help more Americans achieve career success.”