6:51 PM EDT

Mazie Hirono, D-HI 2nd

Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 4072) to require that certain Federal job training and career education programs give priority to programs that provide a national industry-recognized and portable credential, as amended.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:

H.R. 4072

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``American Manufacturing Efficiency and Retraining Investment Collaboration Achievement Works Act'' or the ``AMERICA Works Act''.

SEC. 2. INDUSTRY-RECOGNIZED AND NATIONALLY PORTABLE CREDENTIALS FOR JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS.

(a) Workforce Investment Act of 1998.--

(1) GENERAL EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES.--Section 134(d)(4)(F) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2864(d)(4)(F)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``(iv) PRIORITY FOR PROGRAMS THAT PROVIDE AN INDUSTRY-RECOGNIZED AND NATIONALLY PORTABLE CREDENTIAL.--In selecting and approving training services, or programs of training services, under this section, a one-stop operator and employees of a one-stop center referred to in subsection (c) shall give priority consideration to services and programs (approved by the appropriate State agency and local board in conjunction with section 122) that lead to a credential that is in high demand in

the local area served and listed in the registry described in section 3(b) of the AMERICA Works Act.''.

(2) YOUTH ACTIVITIES.--Section 129(c)(1)(C) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2854(c)(1)(C)) is amended--

(A) by redesignating clauses (ii) through (iv) as clauses (iii) through (v), respectively; and

(B) inserting after clause (i) the following:

``(ii) training (with priority consideration given to programs that lead to a credential that is in high demand in the local area served and listed in the registry described in section 3(b) of the AMERICA Works Act, if the local board determines that such programs are available and appropriate);''.

(b) Career and Technical Education.--

(1) STATE PLAN.--Section 122(c)(1)(B) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2342(c)(1)(B)) is amended by striking the semicolon at the end and inserting the following: ``and, with respect to programs of study leading to an industry-recognized credential or certificate, will give priority consideration to programs of study that--

``(i) lead to an appropriate (as determined by the eligible agency) skills credential (which may be a certificate) that is in high demand in the area served and listed in the registry described in section 3(b) of the AMERICA Works Act; and

``(ii) may provide a basis for additional credentials, certificates, or degrees;''.

(2) USE OF LOCAL FUNDS.--Section 134(b) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2354(b)) is amended--

(A) in paragraph (11), by striking ``; and'' and inserting a semicolon;

(B) in paragraph (12)(B), by striking the period and inserting ``; and''; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

``(13) describe the career and technical education activities supporting the attainment of industry-recognized credentials or certificates, and how the eligible recipient, in selecting such activities, gave priority consideration to activities supporting high-demand registry skill credentials described in section 122(c)(1)(B)(i).''.

(3) TECH-PREP PROGRAMS.--Section 203(c)(2)(E) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2373(c)(2)(E)) is amended by striking ``industry-recognized credential, a certificate,'' and inserting ``industry-recognized credential or certificate (such as a high-demand registry skill credential described in section 122(c)(1)(B)(i)),''.

SEC. 3. SKILL CREDENTIAL REGISTRY.

(a) Definitions.--In this section:

(1) COVERED PROVISION.--The term ``covered provision'' means any of sections 129 and 134 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2854, 2864) and section 122(c)(1)(B) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2342(c)(1)(B)).

(2) INDUSTRY-RECOGNIZED.--The term ``industry-recognized'', used with respect to a credential, means a credential that--

(A) is sought or accepted by companies within the industry sector involved as recognized, preferred, or required for recruitment, screening, or hiring; and

(B) is endorsed by a nationally recognized trade association or organization representing a significant part of the industry sector.

(3) NATIONALLY PORTABLE.--The term ``nationally portable'', used with respect to a credential, means a credential that is sought [Page: H7089]

or accepted by companies within the industry sector involved, across multiple States, as recognized, preferred, or required for recruitment, screening, or hiring.

(4) WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACTIVITIES.--The term ``workforce investment activities'' has the meaning given the term in section 101 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2801).

(b) Registry.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Labor (referred to in this section as the ``Secretary'') shall create a registry of skill credentials (which may be certificates), for purposes of enabling programs that lead to such a credential to receive priority under a covered provision.

(2) REGISTRY.--The Secretary shall--

(A) list the credential in the registry if the credential is required by Federal or State law for an occupation (such as a credential required by a State law regarding qualifications for a health care occupation);

(B) list the credential in the registry if the credential is a credential from the Manufacturing Institute-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System; and

(C) list the credential, and list an updated credential, in the registry if the credential involved is an industry-recognized, nationally portable credential that is consistent with the Secretary's established industry competency models and is consistently updated through third party validation to reflect changing industry competencies.

(c) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require an entity with responsibility for selecting or approving an education, training, or workforce investment activities program with regard to a covered provision, to select a program with a credential listed in the registry described in subsection (b).

SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.

This Act, and the amendments made by this Act, take effect 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

6:51 PM EDT

Mazie Hirono, D-HI 2nd

Ms. HIRONO. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4072, the American Manufacturing Efficiency and Retraining Investment Collaboration Act, or AMERICA Works Act. This bill would direct the use of the Workforce Investment Act funds for programs that provide a national industry-recognized and portable credential certificate or degree.

It would also encourage industry-recognized credentials that are nationally recognized and portable under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

6:52 PM EDT

Bill Cassidy M.D., R-LA 6th

Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4072, the American Manufacturing Efficiency and Retraining Investment Collaboration Act, or the AMERICA Works Act.

H.R. 4072 amends provisions in the Workforce Investment Act, or WIA, and in the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to highlight industry-recognized credentialing, especially those in high-demand professions.

This bill would require One-Stop Career Centers to give priority to training programs that result in participants receiving an industry-recognized credential for a high-demand profession in the locality these centers serve. This bill also requires schools to include in their career and technical education plans a description of how the Career and Technical Education Program will assist students in earning an industry-recognized credential or certification.

This bill makes some positive steps towards encouraging students and job seekers to pursue training that leads to industry-recognized credentials which could increase participants' chances of obtaining a job in a given profession.

However, H.R. 4072 amends only a very small portion of the Workforce Investment Act, which is 8 years overdue for reauthorization. This bill would amend a provision without reauthorizing other important aspects of the law. Considering these changes within the context of a larger reauthorization discussion is important to ensuring the future of the American workforce. We need to take a comprehensive approach to workforce development and not approach these problems in a piecemeal fashion.

I reserve the balance of my time.

6:54 PM EDT

Walter Minnick, D-ID 1st

Mr. MINNICK. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 4072, the AMERICA Works Act. This is a bill that would direct the use of already-appropriated funds within the Carl Perkins Vocational Technical Education Act to prepare American workers with the skills necessary to qualify for the increasingly high-tech jobs available in the 21st century. It would do so by making available Federal funds from these programs to obtain nationally recognized industry credentials acceptable anywhere in the country.

Under this bill, training would continue to be done by technical schools, universities, and union-sponsored journeyman programs in coordination with companies and business groups. A welder trained in a junior college in Maryland would have a certificate qualifying him to work in a machine shop in Idaho. An AmeriCorps trained diesel mechanic in my State could get an auto mechanic's job in yours.

American workers are the best in the world. They are resilient, innovative and hardworking, but they must be properly trained and have widely accepted and understood credentials making them employable anywhere. This bill will ensure that Federal job training is used to provide hardworking Americans desiring training with the certificates, degrees, and credentials American industry needs to fill the sophisticated technical jobs available in today's business world.

I thank my colleague from Louisiana for his support and the gentlewoman from Hawaii for her leadership, and urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan commonsense legislation.

6:56 PM EDT

Mazie Hirono, D-HI 2nd

Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Speaker, in closing, I would once again urge my colleagues to support the AMERICA Works Act. At a time when unemployment is high, we need to do everything we can to enable our workers not only to be trained, but to be able to utilize that training anywhere in our country.

I yield back the balance of my time.