IBM-led coalition pushes senators for action on better tech skills training

IBM-led coalition pushes senators for action on better tech skills training
© Greg Nash

IBM is pushing congressional leaders to update workforce legislation aimed at helping workers get technical skills necessary from the growing number of technology-related vocational jobs.

In a letter, the legacy tech giant, leading a coalition of 400 organizations, urged the chairman of the Senate Health Committee, Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGovernor's race grabs spotlight in Tennessee primaries A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration GOP worries trade wars will last as Trump engages in temporary tiffs MORE (R-Tenn.), as well as its top Democrat, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayGOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Senate Dems press Sessions for records on racial discrimination complaints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press MORE (D-Wash.), to reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

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“As competition for high-skilled labor increases and as the U.S. economy reaches full employment, every effort must be made to close the skills gaps that many industries across all sectors face,” IBM and company wrote in its letter to the senators.

Other groups in the coalition pushing the Perkins Act included the Information Technology Industry Council and BSA, the Software Alliance both of which lobby on behalf of major tech firms, as well as Honda and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Perkins Act which aims to increase training in technical career areas that require specific training for employment was last overhauled in 2006. At that time, changes shifted the focus of the act from “vocational training,” to “career and technical education.”

The bill has already passed in the House.

IBM has been working to push reform efforts of the act along. In addition to lobbying House members on the matter, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty discussed ways to get the Perkins Act reauthorization passed at a dinner with Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpJustice Dept sues Ivanka’s former business partner in fraud case Steve Schmidt: Trump revoking Brennan's clearance shows his 'autocratic fetish' Trump, Obamas and Clintons among leaders mourning Aretha Franklin MORE and senators in April.