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Tom Reed: The dignity of developing our workforce

President Donald Trump recently highlighted the power of apprenticeships as a pathway to fulfilling careers.

“American citizens have worked every job, every occupation, no matter what it might be—no matter how grueling, how challenging, or even how dangerous,” he said during his weekly address.

His message was there is dignity in every honest job, and there (are) good paying career opportunities available now—and you don’t need to run up tens of thousands of dollars of debt earning a four-year college degree to get those jobs.

I agree every American should have the opportunity to have an honest day’s work and a meaningful career to support themselves.  That’s why I recently introduced the Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprentice Programs, or LEAP Act, with U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif. The bill is designed to increase apprenticeships through a new federal tax credit for employers.

There are millions of jobs available in this country, waiting for someone with the right skills to do the work. I see this right in Upstate New York as I visit with manufacturers. Many companies struggle to find workers with the correct training to fill the available jobs. Expanding apprenticeships is a common- sense, bipartisan solution to enhance job opportunities for in-demand career fields such as manufacturing, health care, information technology and skilled trades.

We must work together to close this skills gap. To do this, Americans need access to training that will help launch their careers and set them on a path to productive, successful careers.

The LEAP Act would offer a federal tax credit for hiring new apprentices that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor or a state apprenticeship agency. Participating businesses would receive $1,500 for apprentices under the age of 25 and $1,000 for apprentices over 25. There are roughly 25 employers in our region that have registered apprenticeship programs with the U.S. Department of Labor eligible for the tax credit. Now, apprenticeship programs will be encouraged to develop.

Job opportunities and economic growth do not come from politicians wearing suits in Washington, D.C. They come from employers and skilled laborers all across America, who work hard to enhance our economy.  However, we in Congress must do our part and work with the president to help enhance the ability of the private sector to ensure everyone has the opportunity to secure a good paying job and a better life in this country.

Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, represents the 23rd Congressional District, which includes Ontario, Seneca and Yates counties as well as much of the Southern Tier west of Binghamton.

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com

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