Wanted: Workers with skills


Northwest Signal Editor

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Getting trained workers for today's jobs has long been a thorn in employers' sides, but a bill proposed Wednesday in the U.S. Senate seeks to alleviate that problem.

U.S. senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, introduced the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act of 2008 Wednesday, a bill Brown says will bring together skilled workers with available jobs.

"Over the last 16 or 17 months, I've heard over and over that despite Ohio's unemployment rate being higher than the national average we need to do a better job matching workers with the jobs that are available," Brown said. "Companies are having trouble finding skilled workers."

He pointed out about 50 percent of the U.S. labor market currently consists of jobs that require more than a high school degree but less than a four-year college degree.

Locally, the bill would likely be of great benefit to Northwest State Community College. Eligible entities would be able to apply for a one- year training grant of up to $250,000 and a three-year implementation grant of up to $2.5 million. Renewal grants of up to $1.3 million could then be applied for in certain cases.