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Congressman Krishnamoorthi Questions Federal Reserve Chairman On Economic Impact Of Low Vaccination Rates Abroad, Role Of Career And Technical Education Programs In Domestic Recovery

June 22, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08) questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on the domestic economic impact of low vaccination rates abroad and the effectiveness of career and technical education programs for helping American workers find opportunities in the post-pandemic economy. On the matter of international vaccination rates, Chairman Powell emphasized the economic as well humanitarian importance of supporting broad international vaccination efforts because, “to the extent large countries around world, large populations around the world are not getting vaccinated, we're giving time and place for new strains, more virulent strains of the virus to develop and spread.” In response to Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s question on the value of career and technical education (CTE) programs in helping get Americans back to work, Chairman Powell discussed his familiarity with such programs and the successful track record of companies partnering with educational institutions to ensure students receive training for in-demand skills.

“As my discussion with Chairman Powell today demonstrated, ending this pandemic and ensuring the success of our economic recovery demand we put American workers first while recognizing the international approach necessary for defeating the coronavirus,” said Congressman Krishnamoorthi. “In 2018, I was proud to see my bipartisan legislation to expand and modernize career and technical education for the first time in more than a decade become law, but it’s clear that even as we embrace such effective engines for rejuvenating our economy, we can only ensure the security of our recovery by ending the pandemic for good.”

“So long as the fires of the pandemic rage anywhere, the risk of new, more dangerous variants and new, more deadly outbreaks reaching our shores will endure. That’s why I’ve introduced the Nullifying Opportunities for Variants to Infect and Decimate  (NOVID) Act to dramatically expand and accelerate Our nation’s international coronavirus prevention and vaccination efforts to reduce the risk of more dangerous, new COVID-19 strains and additional domestic outbreaks.”

Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was signed into law in 2018, increasing funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Program by up to $1.3 billion annually, providing high school and post-secondary students with on-the-job training in fields such as cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare while requiring educators to work with local businesses to design training programs for in-demand skills. Earlier this month, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) were joined by Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) and  Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) in introducing the bicameral Nullifying Opportunities for Variants to Infect and Decimate  (NOVID) Act which would expand the nation’s international coronavirus efforts to produce and deliver 8 billion vaccine doses to reduce the risk of more dangerous, new COVID-19 strains and additional domestic outbreaks.

Below are excerpts from Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s exchange with Chairman Powell concerning international vaccination rates career and technical education:

On The Economic Impact Of Some Nations Lagging In Vaccination Rates:

Congressman Krishnamoorthi: What is the impact of other countries in the world not getting their populations vaccinated at the rate that we are, and the COVID fires continuing to rage over there? What is the impact on our economy? If you have any metrics that can measure that or that you’d be willing to share, I’d be very interested

Chairman Powell: I don't have any metrics but I will say that, and to Mr. foster's earlier point, to the extent large countries around world, large populations around the world are not getting vaccinated, we're giving time and place for new strains, more virulent strains of the virus to develop and spread. Viruses do not respect national borders and so, I think it is very much in our interest to support broad vaccination around the world. It's also the right thing to do, but it clearly is the best thing for us as well, because no one is really safe until we're all safe.

On The Role Of Career And Technical Education In The American Economic Recovery:

Congressman Krishnamoorthi: You were talking about the matching function that’s happening right now between people who are perhaps dislocated and the job openings that exist. What is your perspective on efforts by educational systems working with governments – state, local, federal – in upskilling people to match them with the jobs that currently exist in the post-pandemic economy through skills-based education or career technical education and the like?

Chairman Powell:  I’ve been exposed to a number of programs of that nature, and they seem to work really well – some of them do anyway. The idea being companies – actually, you see it in South Carolina quite a bit – you see companies teaming up with schools and technical schools in these apprenticeship programs, and they really work. I would say that’s a great idea, and it would be great to see more of it all over the country. But, you know, those things take time, they take policy support, they take time to really build and produce value, whereas this is something we have the immediate need to get people back to work.

The full video of Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s question line of Mr. Powell can be viewed here.