Lawmaker Demands More Stimulus for Job Training Here

The Secretary of Labor says the federal workforce system will play a vital role in the country's economic recovery. Economic stimulus money will mean billions for job training opportunities. But one Houston lawmaker says Texas deserves more of that money. Pat Hernandez has more.

The money is coming by way of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While it won't by itself put millions back to work, it is a significant boost to local and state programs that receive federal assistance. The Labor Department will soon issue 750-million dollars for workforce training and development.

Flanked by contractors, labor leaders and representatives of job training initiatives, Houston Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says Texas deserves more money than is being presently allotted.

"We don't want to be non-competitive, as it relates to New York and California and other large states. It is very important for there to be an organized effort to secure 750-million dollars in training dollars."

She says it's important that an organized effort be made to call for more stimulus training dollars in Texas.

"Out of the 750-million dollars, there'll be 500-million dollars for green jobs. What better a city to go after green jobs than the energy capitol of the world. We can't do it if we're not organized, reaching out and collaborating with construction companies, small businesses, institutions of faith and non-profit."

Richard Shaw is with the Harris County AFL-CIO.

"Houston is awash in individuals that need job training. It's absolutely essential that Houston, through the workforce development board, and other organizations such as the individuals standing behind me, capture this money for this workforce training, and for these green jobs and other jobs that's gonna be needed in the years to come."

Congresswoman Jackson Lee says while she respectfully opposed Texas Governor Rick Perry's refusal to accept direct stimulus funding, this allotment is different.

"These monies are untouched by a government agency unless they apply. So that means that the non-profits, faith groups that have 501 C3s, individually the city of Houston, individually a corporation that may want to partnership with these very fine groups, they can get this training money directly in their hands. And you can have 200-people in a training program within a matter of days or weeks."

She says this federal funding will help adults who need to be taught new skills to re-enter the workplace and the youth who are struggling to find a job.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF...Houston Public Radio News.
 

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...