Lieu Introduces Bill to Retrain Unemployed for Higher-Paying Jobs

Sen. Ted Lieu introduced a bill on Thursday that would focus on retraining California's unemployed for higher-paying jobs. He is looking to the governor's budget for higher education dollars.

In an effort to help rebuild California's economy and lower its unemployment rate—currently at 9.8 percent—Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) has introduced a plan to invest in a workforce that reflects the state's unique advantages over other states and countries, his office announced on Thursday.

"Were not going to compete in California making t-shirts," Lieu told Patch. "Our cost of living is too high. Places like Vietnam will always be able to make factory t-shirts at a far less expensive price than we ever could."

The way California succeeds, said Lieu, is by emphasizing the roughly 15 industries sectors that drive some 70 percent of the state's economy, including high-tech, bio-tech, agriculture and ports.

"Eighty percent of the strawberries in the U.S. are from California," Lieu said. "Idaho will never have a water port; Switzerland will never have a deep water port; we have an entertainment sector that's hard to replicate; we have tourism."

State and local workforce investment boards have been focusing on getting unemployed low-wage workers into similar low-paying jobs instead of into jobs that will grow California's economy, Lieu said.

The senator is looking to Governor Jerry Brown's state budget—specifically the allocation for higher education—for the money needed to retrain California's unemployed and prepare them for higher-paying jobs.

"It is not easy to do this because it will require investment, it will require time, but if we don't retrain people and give them the skills that they need then our economy is not going to continue forward," said Lieu.

What do you think? Should low-wage workers be retrained and educated for placement in higher-paying jobs?

Keith Bowen January 23, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Ted Lieu is a bad guy, he does not represent the California people or of the US, don't be fooled. He is not interested in our agenda, he has his own, and is covering it with small scale friendly actions. Pay attention before you support him. Pretty much anyone could be better than him.
IAM January 24, 2013 at 05:25 PM
If Ted Lieu is proposing this legislation then there has to be a union lurking somewhere nearby benefiting from his action. A "retraining" program is a joke when so much legislation passed in California aims at driving employers and jobs out of the state. Ted Lieu IS a bad guy.
Jerry Patrick Wood January 24, 2013 at 06:38 PM
So all it will cost is more revenue from the kitty (public purse to our cronies) because we just raised taxes on ourselves? How about we cut the red tape on building a t shirt factory here with the latest technologies why compete when we could dominate from our workers who have been trained with the same education he is now touting we need more of. This "give up" attitude is disturbing and does not address the issues of the lack of factories because we ( our own government) makes it so expensive, corrupt with delays and shakedowns to build them is the main reason we cannot compete. It always tax and spend or borrow send and then tax.
Arthur Christopher Schaper January 30, 2013 at 02:07 AM
State Senator Ted Liey wants to spend more of our money helping the unemployed get more training. I have a better idea. Why doesn't the state senator spend more time training his attention on the state's fiscal mess. The state of California still has one third of the country's welfare recipients. Instead of more "job welfare", how about diminishing the welfare rolls more and more so that California residents will have no choice but to get out there and get a job. With the state spending less money on consumption, the diminished inflation and tax burden would bring in more businesses, more investment, more revenue, and more people off the dole and on a roll making a living and making the most of their lives. Senator Lieu, instead of spending our money to help train the unemployed, why not spend more of your own money training for another professional altogether.
Charles Rondeau February 10, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Mr. Schaper, your comments are internally inconsistent and typical of the "fiscal conservative" Tea-Partyesque perspective. If your point is that we need to fix the State's fiscal crisis, I agree. If part of the solution to the crisis is to convert as many Californians who are currently receiving unemployment benefits into duly employed, tax-paying members of society, I agree with that as well. So, if those are your arguments, then exactly how is it that spending public funds to train the unemployed for better, higher-paying jobs is a bad idea in your opinion? There are only so many Walmart greeter positions out there. You and your kindred spirits really need to think your arguments through before you make them. It's easy for someone who probably has a fairly good standard of living to run around saying: "Let them eat cake!"


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