Helping Americans Get Back to Work

By: Joey Williams, Intern, Government Relations and Public Affairs

In the midst of Workforce Development Week, the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing on “Helping Americans Get Back to Work: Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.” As President Trump shifts his focus to apprenticeship programs, witnesses Michelle Paczynski and Heath Berlin gave compelling reasons why they’re necessary.

The committee members agreed that their districts have a “skills gap” where employers can’t find the specialized workers they need for high-pay, high-demand positions. Meanwhile, there are many people who can’t find jobs. Apprenticeship programs, like the ones found at many franchises, help to develop workers for these jobs to help both parties.

Ms. Paczynski, Deputy Assistant Director for Workforce and Economic Development at the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, opened the hearing by discussing how training programs helped South Carolina reach a 16-year low unemployment rate. By offering a “$1,000 tax credit per apprentice for up to a year”, they obtained a large batch of skilled workers who previously struggled to find jobs.

Similarly, Mr. Berlin spoke about his own experience with unemployment. After being let go from Resilience Technology Corporation in 2016, he struggled to find a job. He explained that he spent his days applying to jobs, struggling to gain traction. Finally, he went to the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Office. They provided him with funding for education and certification. Additionally, they helped him formulate his resume and interviewing skills. Most importantly, he attended a class with people in similar situations, and learned steady approaches to getting re-employed. Less than a month after starting the program, he joined Phalanx Secure Solutions as a full-time employee.

The stories told at the hearing supplied ample evidence for the success of work-training programs. Franchises are uniquely suited to contribute to a solution, as they often have training programs in place for their franchisees.