Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Wednesday he has introduced legislation to give employers a bigger role in federal job-training programs.
Donnelly said his Skills Gap Strategy Act would urge the Department of Labor to invite employers' input on necessary job skills when the department is devising and implementing training programs.
"We're trying to make sure that the Department of Labor has a concerted strategy to address skills gap issues and that they focus on increasing employer participation in education and workforce training," Donnelly said during a conference call with news reporters.
The bill also calls for the Labor Department to increase on-the-job training and apprenticeship opportunities. It does not boost spending and asks Labor to use existing resources, programs and personnel.
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., co-sponsored the legislation.
The bill is a companion piece to the America Works Act that Donnelly has co-sponsored. That bill would have federal training programs stress math, science, engineering and technology skills.
"We have thousands of jobs that are going unfilled right now in our home state, and it is because people don't have the skills to fill those spots," Donnelly said.
He said Vincennes University and Ivy Tech Community College have done a good job incorporating employer needs in their programs. He pointed out that Ivy Tech's Orthopedic and Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Warsaw caters to that city's medical device manufacturers.