Robert Hurt: Jobs remain our top priority

Robert_HurtOver the past week, I had the opportunity to spend time meeting with constituents throughout the Fifth District.  I toured small businesses in Warrenton, visited with students and faculty at UVa and Lord Fairfax Community College, met with farmers in a number of our rural communities, attended a successful job fair in Danville, and celebrated the groundbreaking for the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre in Henry County.  The week served as yet another reminder that jumpstarting our economy to create more jobs remains the top priority in Central and Southside Virginia.

I was pleased to take part in two events that demonstrated that opportunities are on the horizon for our communities.  Danville’s job fair, sponsored by the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, was an encouraging display, with 35 area employers advertising nearly 700 available positions.  The groundbreaking of the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre signals that this site can now begin attracting more jobs to Henry County and Southside Virginia.

While generating opportunities in areas with excessively high unemployment is vital, ensuring that local workers are well-trained to be qualified for these jobs is just as important.  The federal government works with states on a number of well-intended workforce training initiatives, but many of these programs are ineffective because they are laden with bureaucracy, waste, and inefficiency.  With our limited resources, we must ensure that workers have access to the most efficient training that will prepare them for the opportunities coming their way.

To address these critical issues, last year, the House passed the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act – a measure that will modernize our federal workforce training programs to ensure that they are effectively helping workers, jobseekers, and employers.  I hope the Senate will take up this important bill that strengthens these programs, eliminates waste, and will get our friends, neighbors and family members back to work.

I am encouraged by the recent progress that we have seen, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to bring more jobs to Central and Southside Virginia so that we may create a brighter future for our nation.

If you need any additional information, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.

Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District in Congress.

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