Rush’s 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014 Subject of Legislative Hearing
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush’s (IL-01) bill, H.R. 4526, was the subject of a hearing held today by the Energy and Power Subcommittee. The bill, titled the “21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014”, establishes a comprehensive program to improve the education and training of workers for energy-related jobs, with an emphasis on increasing the number of skilled minorities and women trained to work in such jobs.
Since assuming the position of Ranking Member of the Energy and Power subcommittee, one of Rush’s top priorities has been to increase opportunities for minorities within all sectors of the energy industry. Rush introduced H.R. 4526 to provide a pathway to employment for minorities and other historically underrepresented communities in the energy sector. Cosponsored by Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (KY-01), and nine other Members, the bill is a bipartisan effort to create a comprehensive strategy for initiating collaboration between the Departments of Energy, Education, and Labor, as well as industry, schools, community colleges, universities, labor unions, workforce development organizations, and other stakeholders in order to engage, inform, train, and recruit minorities for the energy jobs of the present and future.
“While there is still much work to do to turn potential into reality, I am very pleased to see that we have some of the top minds in the country testifying before us today, representing the federal government, business, the energy sector, and nonprofits,” said Rush. “The fact of the matter is that it is in the best interests of constituents, of industry, and of the wider economy to engage women and the minority community because as the two recent American Petroleum Institute reports that Mr. [Jack] Gerard [API President and CEO] references in his testimony tell us, over half of the workforce within the oil and gas industries, specifically, will retire or leave over the next 5–10 years and they will need these communities to help replace those workers.”
Recently there have not been many issues that Members on both sides of the aisle have been able to agree on, but Rush expressed hope and expectation that job creation is an issue Congress can find common ground on, particularly in terms of increasing the participation of minorities, women, and other historically underrepresented groups. Rush also applauded Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz for his outstanding leadership in developing the Minorities in Energy Initiative, following both public and private conversations held between the two.