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Yarmuth Introduces "Ready to Compete" Act to Help More Americans Tune in to Education and Job Training Opportunities

(Washington, DC)  Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) introduced legislation last week that would harness the extensive resources of public television and put them to work to improve America’s long-term competitiveness.

While jobs in globally-competitive sectors typically require at least a high school degree, more than 39 million Americans and 25 percent of adult Kentuckians do not have a diploma. H.R. 3036, the Ready to Compete Act, develops and updates two programs to use technology to address that growing gap, using the power of public television to expand the availability of workforce training programs, GED preparation, and adult education initiatives, while providing new resources for classroom instruction and school readiness efforts.

 “Public television is available in 99 percent of American households and reaches 100 million people every week. This legislation uses that incredibly powerful platform to play a transformative role in ensuring that American students and workers gain the skills needed to land a good job while ensuring our nation has the workforce to lead the global economy for decades to come,” said Congressman Yarmuth.

This legislation follows the launch of Yarmuth’s Digital Promise initiative, a new national initiative focused on researching and implementing cutting-edge technologies in education and job training. Congressman Yarmuth has focused on efforts that spur not just short-term job creation, but also advance long-term policies and initiatives that will guarantee America remains the global innovation leader. The Ready to Compete Act invests in programs that aim to help retrain today’s workers and best equip the workforce of the future.

“There’s no denying that a divide exists between the increasingly technical global workforce and the millions of Americans whose educational attainment fell short of a high school diploma. However, we are confident we can help bridge that gap through the power of public media and proven resources such as KET’s GED Connection and Workplace Essential Skills series,” said Shae Hopkins, executive director of Kentucky Educational Television.  “Ready to Compete will help address the needs of adult learners and help ensure that they have the knowledge and skills necessary for today’s workforce.”

Drafted after extensive collaboration with Kentucky Educational Television, the Association of Public Television Stations, and teachers and employers from Louisville and across the nation, Congressman Yarmuth’s Ready to Compete Act develops and expands two distinct programs to improveworkforce development and classroom instruction:

  • Ready to Learn –Since 1993, this program has used public television programming to build early childhood reading skills and assisted in the development of landmark literacy programs like Sesame Street. The Ready to Compete Act will broaden this proven program to improve school readiness by incorporating math, science and technology education instruction.
  • Ready to Earn –By authorizing a new program in the Workforce Investment Act, Congressman Yarmuth’s bill will increase the availability of programming such as KET’s GED Connection, which provides video, online, and print elements to adult workers. The legislation also supports increased resources for workforce training programs and adult literacy initiatives.