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 AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (R-Tenn.), as well as its top Democrat, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.), to reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.


“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 TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | How Trump could work with a Dem House | Trump heads to Florida to view hurricane damage Watchdog files Hatch Act complaint against Sanders for picture with Kanye in MAGA hat The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — Latest on Hurricane Michael | Trump, Kanye West to have lunch at White House | GOP divided over potential 2020 high court vacancy MORE and senators in April.