Rep. Blunt Rochester Unveils Comprehensive Jobs Agenda

NEWARK, Del. – Today, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) unveiled a comprehensive Jobs Agenda designed to strengthen Delaware’s workforce, address workforce shortages, fix our broken supply chains, spur American manufacturing, and create more available and affordable housing. The package includes 7 separate pieces of legislation introduced by Blunt Rochester. Many of the bills are bipartisan and bicameral and enjoy broad support from a variety of interest groups, stakeholders, and constituents. 

Blunt Rochester was joined for the announcement by Tech Impact Chief Impact Officer Donnique Bell, Delaware Deputy Secretary of Labor Rachel Turney, Delaware State Housing Authority Director Eugene Young, Delaware Technical Community College Associate Vice President for Workforce Development and Community Education Dr. Paul Morris, Tech Impact Director of Research Development Analytics Héc Maldonando-Reis, and Delaware Technical Community College Paraprofessional Education Program student Mary Gold. Representatives from the following workforce development stakeholders were also present: Delaware Small Business Administration, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, Delaware Workforce Development Board, Goodwill of Delaware, Christiana Care, Wilmington Job Corps Center, Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Small Business Development Center, Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Polytech Adult Education, and Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters.

“From my time as Delaware’s Secretary of Labor, Head of State Personnel, and CEO of the Wilmington Metropolitan Urban League, to my time in Congress, there’s always been one word that has described and animated my work - jobs,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I was so thrilled to join with leaders from across Delaware to unveil my comprehensive Jobs Agenda. The reality is that so many policy areas are connected to our ability to create jobs and for workers to fill them. From creating available and affordable housing, to giving justice-involved individuals a second chance and a clean slate, to creating the workforce training programs of today and tomorrow and fixing our broken supply chains. There’s no one solution to unleashing the full potential of the American economy - which is why I’m proud to unveil this comprehensive package of bills, many of which are bipartisan and bicameral. I look forward to continuing my work in Congress to get the Jobs Agenda to President Biden’s desk.” 

"Defining what the Future of Work looks like for Delawareans is a critical component for advancing our state's economy and remaining competitive," said Rachel Turney, Deputy Secretary of Labor for Delaware. "It is legislation like the JOBS Act, the National Nursing Workforce Center Act, the Clean Slate Act , the Supply CHAINS Act and the Immersive Technology for American Workforce that will help expand Delaware's talent pool and allow for more Delawareans to be included and participate in the growth of our state's economy." 

"For years, the demand for housing has surpassed the supply available. There is plenty for all jurisdictions to accomplish because the needs of communities keep evolving," said Eugene R. Young, Jr., Director of Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA). "I applaud the Housing Supply and Affordability Act as it is a significant victory for agencies like DSHA and, more importantly, the safety and stability of families."

"As the only Community College in the First State, Delaware Tech is focused on supporting the local workforce and assisting Delawareans in becoming job ready.  Congresswoman Blunt Rochester's Jobs Agenda will aid us with delivering our mission and provide the additional resources needed to ensure all students have gainful employment." - Dr. Paul Morris, Delaware Technical Community College Associate Vice President for Workforce Development and Community Education

“Good jobs enable progress in our supply chain, the diversification of our workforce and the sustainability of families. It is an honor to support Representative Blunt Rochester’s comprehensive Jobs Agenda. With unemployment at an all-time low, it is more important than ever that we develop and provide training programs for the future. From justice impacted individuals to middle-skill information technology jobs, the Jobs Agenda will provide opportunities to advance our workforce today and into the future,” said Patrick Callihan, CEO of Tech Impact. 

“Agilent Technologies, which manufactures medical and scientific measurement equipment in the United States and abroad, strongly supports the Supply CHAINS Act.  This legislation is an important step forward in addressing our nation’s vulnerabilities to supply-chain disruptions and shortages, which were exposed during the COVID pandemic.  The creation of a new office in the Department of Commerce to lead a government-wide effort to strengthen supply chains is critical to our economic competitiveness and national security.  The bill also calls for an independent study to evaluate the economic and national security benefits of a grant, loan, and loan guarantee incentives program for supporting resilient supply chains.  We believe the establishment of an incentives program is a recognition that developing manufacturing capacity is a sophisticated and capital-intensive activity and that our businesses need support to compete globally.  We are pleased to support this crucial effort.” - Agilent Technologies

The Blunt Rochester Jobs Agenda includes: 

  • The JOBS Act 
    • This bipartisan and bicameral bill would expand eligibility for federal Pell Grant programs to individuals interested in pursuing short-term, high-quality education and training programs to address the worker shortage by closing the skills gap. 
  • The Housing Supply & Affordability Act
    • This bipartisan and bicameral bill would create a new Local Housing Policy Grant (LHPG) program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 
  • The Clean Slate Act 
    • This bipartisan and bicameral bill would remove major barriers for many Americans in finding employment, securing housing, and accessing education by automatically sealing the federal records of individuals convicted of low-level, nonviolent drug offenses after they successfully complete their sentence. 
  • The Building Resilient Supply Chains Act 
    • The legislation authorizes $41 billion of funding for fiscal year (FY) 2024 through 2028 to support grants, loans, and loan guarantees that support the development, diversification, preservation, improvement, restoration, and expansion of supply chains and the domestic manufacturing of critical goods, industrial equipment, and manufacturing technology.
  • The Supply CHAINS Act
    • This bill creates a dedicated supply chain office led by an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Commerce, requires the Assistant Secretary to map and monitor supply chains to identify vulnerabilities, directs the office to establish standards and best practices for U.S. companies to address supply chain vulnerabilities, and commissions an independent study to determine whether a grant and loan making authority is warranted.
  • The Immersive Technology for the American Workforce Act
    • This bipartisan bill would amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by creating a 5-year grant program at the Department of Labor to support community colleges and career and technical education centers in developing education and training programs for workforce development utilizing immersive technology.
  • The National Nursing Workforce Center Act 
    • This bipartisan and bicameral bill would establish a 2-year pilot program through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support state-based nursing workforce centers. The legislation would also broaden HRSA’s authority to establish Health Workforce Research Centers on any program under the Public Health Service Act and give HRSA clear authority to establish a nursing-focused research and technical assistance center under the Health Workforce Research Center Program.

A one-pager of the agenda can be found here and a comprehensive packet can be found here.


Photos from today’s event can be found here.



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