WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC) today discussed challenges Seventh District technical colleges and business face because of the jobs gap at a hearing with Labor Secretary Acosta. Congressman Rice has been active in workforce development efforts in the Seventh District and asked Secretary Acosta about federal resources that can be used at the local level to close the jobs gap.

“Three counties I represent lag behind our state average in unemployment, their wages are two thirds of the state average, and they have declining populations. On the other hand, I have three technical colleges in the eight counties I represent. They do a great job, but they need students. They have programs that have one hundred percent placement rates at salary levels higher than the state average. We’ve got this glaring need for employees, and on the other hand we have an idle population. How can we help technical schools and employers engage these populations? Does the Department of Labor have programs or people that they can send into my district to help engage these folks?” asked Congressman Rice. “These kids can go to school for free, but they can’t fill these programs. How do we connect this disconnected population?”

Congressman Rice’s full line of questioning can be found here.


Because of tax reform, our economy is flourishing and businesses are creating jobs. However, many companies are struggling to fill these open positions. According to the Ways and Means Committee, there are 5.5 million 16 to 24 year olds in America who are not in school and are not working. The Ways and Means Committee is holding a series of hearings to address the disconnect between employers’ increased demand for workers and the millions of Americans not in the labor force.