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Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester announced her jobs agenda on Wednesday, April 13, 2023, at Tech Impact, a company based in the FinTech building on the University of Delaware’s STAR campus.

The agenda includes seven separate pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening the workforce and addressing a number of issues that Plant Rochester said are related to jobs, including affordable housing.

“Because if you don’t have good housing, it makes it hard to get an education, and it’s hard to get a job,” said Plant Rochester.

The legislative initiatives will also create an office within the Department of Commerce that will focus specifically on supply chain issues.

“We’ve never had such a thing before, and other states have had such a thing,” Blunt Rochester said. “So they will monitor, and they will map out the locations of the vulnerabilities.”

Right now, she said, it’s product after product affected by the supply chain.

“For me, my goal is not to beat a mole,” said Plant Rochester.

Plant Rochester says the agenda is the outgrowth of a bipartisan futures group that was started before the pandemic with the goal of looking at the effects of automation on the workforce.

“And in particular women, people of color, veterans and people with disabilities who may be left behind and may be at risk of losing their jobs because of automation,” she said.

According to Blunt Rochester, most legislation has bipartisan support and patronage in both houses of Congress.

“Our hope, especially bills like the Jobs Act, our Nursing Workforce Shortage Act, these are bipartisan things and they’re problems we’re seeing across the country,” said Blunt Rochester, “so I’ve had very positive responses from fellow Republicans and the leadership.”

Plant Rochester’s jobs agenda includes these legislative items:

  • Jobs Act – This bipartisan, bicameral bill would expand eligibility for federal Pell Grant programs to individuals interested in pursuing short-term, high-quality educational and training programs to address the worker shortage by closing the skills gap.
  • Housing Accessibility and Affordability Act – This bipartisan, bicameral bill would create a new Local Housing Policy Grant (LHPG) program administered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • CLEAN Slate ACT – This bipartisan, bicameral bill would remove major barriers for many Americans to finding work, securing housing, and accessing education by automatically closing federal records for individuals convicted of low-level nonviolent drug offenses after they successfully complete their punishment. .
  • Building Resilient Supply Chains Act – The legislation authorizes $41 billion in financing for fiscal year(s) 2024 through 2028 to support grants, loans, and loan guarantees that support the development, diversification, preservation, improvement, restoration, and expansion of supply chains and domestic manufacturing of critical commodities, industrial equipment, and manufacturing technology.
  • Supply Chain Act – This Act creates a dedicated Office of Supply Chain led by the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, requires the Assistant Secretary to identify and monitor supply chains to identify weaknesses, directs the Office to establish standards and best practices for U.S. companies to address supply chain weaknesses, and commissions an independent study to determine whether The authority to make grants and loans was justified.
  • Immersive Technology of the American Workforce Act – This bipartisan bill would amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by creating a 5-year grant program in the Department of Labor to support community colleges and career and technical education centers in developing educational and training programs to develop the workforce using immersive technology.
  • National Nursing Workforce Center Act – The bipartisan, bicameral bill would establish a 3-year pilot program through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support nursing workforce centers in the state. The legislation would also expand HRSA’s authority to establish health workforce research centers in any program under the Public Health Service Act and give HRSA explicit authority to create a nursing-focused research and technical assistance center under the Health Workforce Research Center program.