Whitehouse & Inhofe Introduce Bill to Help Train Next Generation of Manufacturing Workers
Bipartisan legislation would help companies bridge the skills gap and hand down valuable institutional knowledge
Washington, DC – Today, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced the Retain Innovation and Manufacturing Excellence Act, to help businesses train the next generation of manufacturing workers. The senators’ bipartisan bill would establish a pilot program to allow businesses to retain retiring employees long enough to train replacement workers – tackling a major challenge for manufacturing companies.
“Manufacturers tell me one of their biggest challenges is handing down skills and knowledge from one generation of workers to the next. This bill would help them do that,” said Whitehouse. “Rhode Island is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, and to this day continues a long tradition of manufacturing excellence. That’s why I’m proud to join Senator Inhofe on bipartisan legislation to strengthen American manufacturing.”
“Manufacturing is the backbone of Oklahoma and America,” Inhofe said. “But as individuals retire from the workforce, small businesses have trouble finding and training the next generation of workers to take their place. By creating this grant pilot program to support the training of new workers, we can make it possible for small business to effectively train new employees alongside outgoing staff—making it possible to pass on critical institutional knowledge. Additionally, I am especially pleased that this legislation prioritizes veterans transitioning to a new career.”
The Retain Innovation and Manufacturing Excellence Act would establish the pilot program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to allow regional Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) to apply for targeted workforce training grants provided by the Department of Commerce. The funding awarded to small manufacturers would be used to retain a departing employee for up to 90 days while they train a new or promoted employee on the unique functions of their job. The bill would authorize up to $10 million to be used for the pilot program.
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