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Congressman Tim Ryan

Representing the 13th District of Ohio

Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces the WORKER Act

February 19, 2019
Press Release
The Bill Takes a Comprehensive Approach to Bolstering the New American Economy

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) reintroduced the Working on Rewarding and Keeping Employees Resilient (WORKER) Act, a sweeping economic bill aimed at resolving prominent challenges to American labor and job markets. This ‘GI Bill for American Workers’ focuses on workforce development and supporting the American worker by addressing jobs, wage stagnation, and continued layoffs as a result of outsourcing and automation. Last year, Congressman Ryan released a comprehensive report titled Putting America Back To Work, which outlines of some of the twenty-first century’s greatest challenges towards our changing economy.  

“The new American economy does not exist in the past, but in the future. Our economy continues to change, but many of our friends, neighbors, and family members continue to grapple with a lack of jobs, wage stagnation, or continued layoffs. While the economy is humming along nicely for the top wage-earners in our society, it is broken for just about everyone else. The system no longer works for the American worker. We need bold action. My WORKER Act is just that. The bill addresses the rise of automation and technological advancements beginning with the education of our students, sustaining them with resources for continuous training and job security, and increasing investment in distressed communities to create jobs,” said Congressman Ryan. “For being the wealthiest nation on earth, too many Americans are struggling with the realities of everyday life—paying their bills, caring for their family, putting food on the table, and keeping a roof over their head. The future of our economy, and of the American Dream, rests on our ability to alleviate this struggle by innovating and creating new, good-paying jobs where they are needed most. The WORKER Act will do just that.”

Representatives Ro Khanna (CA-17), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-9), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-2), Darren Soto (FL-9) were original cosponsors of the legislation, which was also endorsed by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the United Automobile Workers.

“The WORKER Act is a strong step in the right direction for our economy and will help communities left behind to thrive. By providing future generations with the skills they need to compete and succeed in the 21st Century these grant programs will support engineering technology education programs in elementary and secondary schools,” said Rep. Khanna (CA-17).

“For far too long, Americans have struggled to keep up and get ahead. As inequality continues to widen, the rich are getting richer while middle and working-class families struggle to make ends meet.  Our system is broken and far too many families are being left behind. The WORKER Act takes bold action to empower the American workforce. I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of the WORKER Act and encourage my colleagues to support this legislation. Let’s pass this right away,” said Rep. Clarke (NY-9).

“There should not be anyone struggling to pay bills or provide for their families in the wealthiest nation in the world.  I support the WORKER Act because it provides a foundational pathway for generations of Americans to succeed in our rapidly changing economy.  This legislation is long overdue,” said Rep. Thompson (MS-2).

“Globalization and emerging technologies have the profound potential to benefit society and be a driver of economic growth. As we adapt to a changing economy, we must keep the welfare of American workers at the forefront of our legislative priorities. I’m proud to join Rep. Ryan and colleagues in support of the WORKER Act to provide the necessary tools and continue empowering our American workforce,” said Rep. Soto (FL-9).

“We recognize that the WORKER Act will advance the American economy for the betterment of all American people regardless of demographic or political affiliation. This bill takes important steps towards providing distressed communities, underrepresented minorities, women, and all American workers with the skills and opportunities necessary to thrive in the modern economy,” Ramiro Cavazos, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President & CEO.

The WORKER Act takes bold action to empower the American workforce and their families by making provisions for some of the following:

  • Gives our children the skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century by creating grant programs to support engineering and engineering technology education programs in elementary and secondary schools. It also expands maker education and makerspaces in schools.
  • Promotes and expands registered apprenticeships to encourage industry growth, competitiveness and collaboration to improve worker training, retention and advancement in targeted infrastructure clusters.
  • Establishes a Registered Apprenticeship-College Collaborative to promote stronger relationships between registered apprenticeship programs and 2 and 4-year post-secondary educational institutions.
  • Encourages greater diversity in registered apprenticeship programs through outreach to underrepresented populations, youth, and veterans.
  • Incentivizes reemployment by creating a reemployment bonus for individuals currently receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Eases the wage transition for older workers by creating wage insurance for individuals 50 and over. And in economically distressed communities for individuals 45 and over.
  • Creates a training voucher for $8,000 to ensure every American can attend a short-term training program to receive the skills necessary to succeed.
  • Makes finding a job easier for families who are struggling with everyday challenges like transportation and child care by providing a stipend for income support services.
  • Establishes a new Department within the Department of Commerce with the mission of promoting, establishing, and strengthening venture capital investment in distressed communities, including expenses of grants, contracts, and other agreements with public or private entities.
  • Designates that the Department of Commerce and the Secretary of Commerce should know be known as the Department of Innovation and Investment and Secretary of Innovation and Investment.

You may also read the full report, Putting America Back To Workhere