Bill proposed to address skills gap

DOYLESTOWN U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Bucks) is pushing for a new bill that would address the so-called skills gap between American companies and the workers they want to hire, a situation he said was evident in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

On Friday, he released the results of a survey his office conducted among manufacturers in the Eighth Congressional District, which includes a portion of eastern Montgomery and all of all of Bucks County. Among the 200 companies that responded, more than 70 percent said it was difficult to find employees with the right skills; fewer than 20 percent agreed local educational institutions provided the trained workers they needed, Fitzpatrick's office said.

Fitzpatrick is a co-sponsor of the Skills Gap Strategy Act of 2014, a bill introduced in the House last week by U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, a Democrat representing the 17th Congressional District in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The bill would require the Department of Labor to study the nation's skills gap problem and make recommendations to increase the number of employers and employees in work-force training programs and apprenticeships.

- Ben Finley