July 10, 2023
By Maury Thompson

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, wants to expand public/private collaboration in workforce training.

Only 125,000 unemployed adults and laid-off workers per year are now completing federal employment training programs, and only one-third of those are employed in a related field six months after completion, Stefanik said in a news release about two bills she recently introduced.

“Accessibility to workforce development can equip more workers for in-demand jobs and provide job creators with the skilled workforce they need,” Stefanik said.

The first of the bills, introduced June 14, would allow employees to develop workforce training programs tailored to employer needs and pay for the training through “employer-directed skills accounts,” which the federal government and employer would contribute.

Training could be provided by the employer or a third-party education contractor.

The second bill would allow employers who use pre-employment screenings to submit their methodology to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Council to determine if it complies with federal law.

Those that do comply would be certified as “job ready.”

The EEOC would not be allowed to use information submitted to launch an investigation of the employer.

Neither bill had any co-sponsors as of July 1.

In other political news of the region:

Education endowment tax

Stefanik has made an exception to her usual opposition to new taxes — with a goal of protecting national security rather than raising revenue.

Stefanik is an original co-sponsor of legislation Rep. Gregory Murphy, R-North Carolina, introduced to establish a federal excise tax on contributions from Chinese donors to large collegiate endowment funds.

The tax, applicable to private college and university endowment funds of $1 billion or more, would amount to 50% of the initial contribution and 100% of any future gains from the contribution.

“The measure aims at pressuring large university endowments to purge their investment portfolios of Chinese entities deemed a threat to U.S. national security,” Murphy said in a news release.

The legislation — HR 4380 — had seven cosponsors, all Republicans, as of July 2.

Economic development

Stefanik, on June 15, introduced bipartisan legislation to continue the Northern Border Commission for another 10 years, and to amend its guidelines to be more flexible in supporting health care and housing projects.

The commission is a federal/state partnership that assists with economic and community development in regions along the U.S./Canadian border in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The proposed legislation would authorize $40 million in funding to the commission annually for the first five years and $45 million annually for the remaining five years.

Read the article in Adirondack Daily Enterprise here.