Jobs and the Workforce
Our nation’s economy continues to improve after the 2009 recession, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Yet, despite significant gains, millions of Americans remain unemployed, unsure about the future, and wondering how to make ends meet. This is why increasing economic opportunities and security for the middle class and working Americans continues to be my top priority in Congress.
I have supported a wide range of legislation in recent years to create and save jobs, protect consumers, and help families and individuals that are struggling. A strong workforce and business friendly policies are vital for continued economic recovery. That is why I continue to support efforts to modernize the current workforce investment system to better assist unemployed Americans acquire the skills they need for growing industries. Over 80 percent of employers report needing a more highly-skilled workforce in order to fill millions of positions throughout the country. We must do better to ensure our workforce is prepared to fill these good paying jobs.
It is vital that American workers receive a fair and honest wage. However, as the cost-of-living continues to rise, a full-time minimum-wage worker earns only $14,500 a year, making it nearly impossible to support a family and save for the future. In the State of Florida, nearly 20 percent of families are living in poverty. This is unacceptable, and it is past time that we raise the national minimum wage to a tenable level.
In addition, there are approximately 65 million women in the American workforce. Families across the country increasingly rely on the wages that women earn to pay the bills and make ends meet, yet women make an average of only 77 cents to the dollar compared to men. Now more than ever, it is clear that pay equity is not just an issue for women, but an issue for all American families.