Capitol Update – Week 8


Educating our 21st Century Workforce

In my opening day speech, I spoke about the need to pass policies that continue to build a highly-skilled workforce and foster a business climate to which high-paying career jobs are plentiful. This week, the House passed House File 2392 which was the result of a two-year collaborative effort between business, industry, community partners, policy makers, skilled trades, school districts, community colleges, economic development entities, licensing boards, labor unions, and regents universities.

Our global economy continues to increase the need for a high-skilled workforce and in order to provide students with these high-paying career opportunities in Iowa, we must work to close the skill-gap and meet the needs of 21st century employers.

House File 2392 is based on the recommendations of the Career and Technical Education Task Force (CTE), which the legislature established in 2013 to make recommendations that “reduce skill shortages, enhance economic growth, and ensures that all students have access to high quality, globally competitive career and technical education programs.”  Our legislation this year now provides a framework for school districts to educate students about these career opportunities, introduce them to a wide-array of high-paying job opportunities, and eventually help Iowa’s economy grow and families thrive. The bill passed unanimously in the House and has moved to the Senate.

In addition to new training in education, we have also considered ways to remove barriers for Iowans to take advantage of these new opportunities. Under current law, juvenile court records can be publicly available, which even for relatively minor crimes can stand in the way of one’s future success in life. The House passed Senate File 2288 this week, which preserves the confidentiality of juvenile court records for nonviolent crimes, while still allowing arrest records to be made public by judicial request. The bill will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Next week will be heavily focused on committee work as both chambers work to bring policy proposals out of committee before the second funnel deadline. After next week, the focus will shift to tax policy and the state’s budget.