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Thursday, October 29, 2015

What? No Benghazi?

Langevin and Cicilline Speak at “Make It In America: What’s Next?” Member Day Hearing

Washington, D.C.  – Congressmen Jim Langevin (RI-02) and David Cicilline (RI-01) joined House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and other House Democrats today for a “Make It In America: What’s Next?” hearing. House Democrats first launched the Make It In America jobs plan in 2010, with the goal of encouraging companies to bring overseas jobs back home, and sparking high-wage, private-sector job growth in America.

“Our economic landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade, and we must adapt accordingly. I hear a constant refrain from employers in Rhode Island and beyond that despite having a rising number of job openings, they are unable to find employees with the necessary skills to fill them. This skills gap is a persistent drag on our economy, but it is one that we have the tools to fix,” said Langevin, co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus. 

“Connecting education with current economic demands and providing robust training programs is essential to closing the skills gap and ensuring our workforce has 21st century skills for a 21st century economy.”

At the hearing, Langevin advocated for a strong reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is a major source of federal funding for CTE programs in high schools and community and technical colleges.

“Rhode Island's economy was built on the strength of our manufacturing industry. Manufacturers employed over 41,000 workers in Rhode Island in 2014 and exported $1.68 billion in manufactured goods. But we can do more in Congress to ensure that our manufacturing sector continues to grow and thrive in today’s economy,” said Cicilline, who has championed the Make it in America Manufacturing Act and the 21st Century Buy American Act. 

“That’s why I’m fighting to keep firm “Buy American” requirements, to require the federal government to notify manufacturers about procurement opportunities, and to provide new resources to help Rhode Island companies compete in the 21st century.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, Cicilline underscored the importance of building on Rhode Island’s inherent strengths in the manufacturing sector and ensuring that education and workforce training initiatives align with the needs of manufacturers.

Over the past five years, 16 Make It In America bills have been signed into law. Major initiatives in the package must still be acted upon, however, and today’s hearing provided an opportunity for Members to explore new ideas and solicit feedback as they work to update the Make It In America plan for 2015 and beyond.
Congressmen Langevin and Cicilline testified as part of the Future of American Manufacturing and Skills Training panel. Cicilline focused on manufacturing, and Langevin focused on education and skills training. The hearings can be followed on social media with the hashtag #MIIAWhatsNext.