We’ve Gone from "Where are the Jobs?" to "Where are the Workers?"

Remember when President Obama told us 9.6% unemployment was the “new normal?” It’s now at 3.7%!

In light of our nation’s recent economic success following reduced regulations and taxes, experts continue to warn that the biggest thing holding us back from maintaining Trump’s exceptional economic growth is workforce shortages.

To quote the man who practically wrote the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act himself, Chairman of The House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady, “It’s exciting to go from saying ‘Where are the jobs?’ to ‘Where are the workers?’”

President of the US Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Donohue, recently said, “There are two gaps causing insecurity for many businesses and workers and preventing our nation from leveraging its talent and our people from realizing their full potential.” 

Donohue went on to say, “The first is a skills gap—too many people lack the skills or credentials they need to compete for 21st century jobs. The second is a people gap—too many businesses can’t find the workers they need, when and where they need them.”

Closing both of these gaps is crucial to our economy.

Donohue described that in order to close the skills gap, we will need to strengthen education and provide more data to young people about the return on investment of different career paths. He also stressed the need for private enterprises to promulgate programs that provide skills training and trade specialization in accordance with workforce demands.

Texas construction companies have already taken matters into their own hands, creating organizations like the Construction Career Collaborative, an alliance of responsible Owners, Contractors, and Specialty Contractors who are collaborating to create a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce, and SteelToePro, a resource and database created to attract workers to construction craft careers and connect them with training and employment opportunities.

However, even as forward thinking businesses work to help Americans acquire the skills that are needed in today’s economy, our nation still faces a growing shortage of workers. For the first time since the US Department of Labor started keeping track, there are more open jobs in America than unemployed Americans.

Donohue says that sensible immigration reform is the quickest way to help close this “people gap” and that our “immigration system must be modernized for today’s economy and aligned with market demands,” so that employers have “the ability to hire workers of all skill levels—when and where they need them.” 

That is why I am advocating for immigration reform that not only secures the border and increases national security, but that requires undocumented workers to submit to background checks and earn their legal status so we can ID and tax them properly and require them to work for employers that deduct and match taxes!

Today is Election Day! I hope you have exercised your right to vote or will do so before the polls close this evening.  For a lot of reasons, I voted Republican.  But regardless of how you voted, we need to come together and address the immigration dilemma. Please join me by encouraging your Congressional Rep and Senators to support sensible immigration reform!

May God continue to bless America!

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