Daines Introduces Bill to Get Montanans, Americans Back to Work and Prepare for the Post-COVID-19 Workforce

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today introduced the Workforce Recovery and Training Services Act to help get Montanans and Americans back to work and prepare them for the post-COVID-19 economy.

“As our nation continues to respond to the impacts of COVID-19, we must ensure our workers have the support they need to get back to work,” Daines said. “My bill will boost our economic recovery by connecting unemployed Montanans with local career training programs that can help them find a new job.”

Millions of Americans are returning to work as the nation’s economy begins to safely re-open. Many workers are returning to a job market that looks different than the one prior to the pandemic and many will need to look for a new job or an entirely new career path.

In fact, more than 50 million Americans believe they will need additional education to replace a lost job with a comparable one, per a recent survey by the Strada Education Network. Despite this, only 44 percent of Americans say they have access to the education or training they want, and in rural communities that number drops to 39 percent.

Since March 15th, 2020, 108,211 Montanans have applied for initial unemployment insurance claims.

Daines’ Workforce Recovery and Training Services Act will addresses this challenge by:

  • Vastly expanding funds needed for individuals to acquire skills through individual training accounts by providing more flexibility for individuals to benefit from short-term, online training opportunities, particularly for in-demand fields such as technology;
  • Providing incentives for employers to hire and train new and current employees with in-demand skills; and
  • Helping local communities expand employment and re-employment services, including those that may be provided online in order to reach communities where in-person support may not be possible.  

There are 17 certified One Stop Job Service Systems in Montana that will aid in the deployment of these training services. Daines’ bill also authorizes $3.5 billion in formula funding through the Department of Labor.

For more information on the bill, click HERE. To read the full bill, click HERE.

Statements of Support:

“Workforce recruitment and retention are top challenges for Montana businesses, and the coronavirus is set to exacerbate this problem. We applaud Senator Daines for introducing the Workforce Recovery and Training Services Act, of which we expect its programs to advance the economic recovery in our state.” – Todd O’Hair, President and CEO, Montana Chamber of Commerce

“I am thankful for the leadership of Senator Daines to support forward-looking investments in workforce development programs through the Workforce Recovery and Training Services Act. Passage of this legislation is critical to helping our Montana businesses and communities make a strong economic recovery after the coronavirus related disruptions.” – Joel Krautter, Representative, State Workforce Innovation Board Member

“For our nation to have a truly inclusive economic recovery, people must have the right skills to fill new jobs, especially those hardest hit by job losses like workers with lower incomes, women, and underrepresented minorities. Senator Daines has proposed a timely legislative solution to this urgent need.” Brad Smith, President, Microsoft