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Byrne joins bipartisan effort to shrink nation’s skills gap

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By Staff
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, joined bipartisan colleagues in introducing the Career Advancement Through New Skills Act, H.R. 4088.

Representatives Byrne, Mike Thompson, D-CA, Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Randy Hultgren, R-Illinois, introduced legislation which would incentivize employers to invest in their employees, giving them the necessary training to close the skill gap that exists between employers’ needs and employees in many industries.

The legislation would create a tax credit for 25 percent of the first $5,000 that an employer spends on qualified education and training expenses for an employee. These qualified education and training expenses include the cost of programs or training to maintain or improve the skills of workers to meet the employer’s needs.

“As a Congress, we should always be looking for new ways to help Americans gain the skills they need to succeed in today’s 21st Century economy. Training programs are more important than ever before in connecting Americans with high paying jobs and closing the skills gap that is plaguing many industries today. Through this bipartisan legislation, we can make a real impact by encouraging employers to take a direct and active role in job training,” Byrne said.

“The nation’s skills gap is significant. Small businesses across the country report being unable to find qualified applicants and CEOs report shortages of workers for skilled, well-paying jobs. This bill would help narrow that gap by encouraging businesses to invest in the education and training of their employees, helping workers expand their skills while earning money and advancing their career, and giving employers the skilled workforce they need to build their businesses,” Rep. Thompson stated.

“Giving seasoned employees the opportunity to learn and build new skills while on the job helps our economy grow. The federal government can and should be a partner in supporting classes and training offered by companies that can give more stability to their workers and put them in a position to earn more money,” Rep. Kilmer said.

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“One the greatest challenges facing workers today is connecting the skills and knowledge they have with the jobs that actually exist. Similarly, small businesses have trouble finding qualified applicants for the jobs of the 21st century. This bill encourages these employers to put resources toward training and educating workers for the jobs that exist now. Let’s help the backbone of our economy—small businesses—create opportunity for their workers in order to grow,” Rep. Hultgren stated.

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H.R. 4088 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means where it awaits action by the committee.

Employee skills training is already tax deductible, meaning that it cuts the taxable income on a dollar by dollar basis.  A tax credit, however, actually decreases the tax owed amount.

Byrne is the former head of the Alabama Two Year College System; he served in the state Senate and also on the state school board.

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