Sen. Joe Donnelly

Sen. Joe Donnelly (March 5, 2013)

SOUTH BEND – Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., joined Sens. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., Tuesday in introducing bipartisan legislation aimed at closing the “skills gap” in the U.S.

The America Works Act would modify existing federal job-training programs so that they place an emphasis on programs and certifications that are recognized and demanded by industry, according to a news release.

"(This) is an example of the common sense, straightforward work Congress can be doing to improve our nation's economy," Donnelly said. "I have heard time after time from Hoosier business owners, educators and workers about the pressing need to close the skills gap and get more people to work."

Estimates by the Manufacturing Institute and the professional services firm Deliotte indicate there are as many as 600,000 job openings in the country that remain unfilled because employers are not able to find workers with the necessary skills, according to the news release.

Said Donnelly, "The improvements in this bill would be a benefit for both workers and employers, as workers would know that the time they spend training is more likely to lead to employment in a well-paying job, and employers would be more likely to hire people who they know have the training they need to be productive on day one."