featured graphic for Michelle Steel, Congresswoman for California’s 48th District, after COVID-19

Reps. Steel, Stefanik, Allen, Letlow introduce bill to accelerate job seekers return to workforce

Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA) joined Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rick Allen (R-GA), and Julia Letlow (R-LA) to introduce the Validate Prior Learning to Accelerate Employment Act. This legislation will accelerate job seekers’ return to and advancement in the workforce by more effectively identifying and validating their existing skills gained through prior work experience, military service, life experience, or education.

“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.

“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.”

“We must see the real value of past experience and skills that many job seekers possess—and how that prepares them for future opportunities,” Rep. Allen said. “Coming from the construction industry, I know firsthand how important it is to hire employees that are prepared to do the job on day one. That is why I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Validate Prior Learning to Accelerate Employment Act to ensure that local workforce development and job placement partners are equipped with the appropriate skills assessments to measure a job seeker’s abilities. Especially as employers in Georgia and across the country are struggling to find workers, we must acknowledge that a college degree isn’t always a good measure of what a worker can bring to the table and we should support employers who want to find qualified job candidates through skills-based hiring.”

“Helping citizens find jobs and connecting employers with skilled workers is one of the most essential building blocks of a strong economy,” Rep. Letlow said. “This bill is a great measure to help put more Americans back to work and leverage the skills and education they have.”

Specifically, this legislation updates the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to enhance the use of assessments that measure prior learning and skills to award industry-recognized certificates or credit towards a postsecondary credential. The legislation:

  • Fosters collaboration with businesses and education providers to identify assessments that can validate in-demand skills valued by employers,
  • Incorporates these assessments into the services provided by the local workforce centers, ensuring job seekers can leverage their existing skills to accelerate reemployment, and
  • Supports employers seeking to implement skills-based hiring, reducing the reliance on college degree requirements in the hiring process.
This article was released by the Office of Congresswoman Michelle Steel.