U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA, 9th District) has reintroduced the Emergency Economic and Workforce System Resiliency Act, which creates a five-year funding stream to state and local workforce boards, including funds to assist firms in transitioning to employee ownership or cooperative models. The bill also includes funding to invest in new programs that prevent layoffs, assist displaced workers, and support employers to both preserve and create jobs. The Democracy at Work Institute is proud to have helped shape and now support the bill, which will be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
If signed into law, the bill would also allow states to use the funding for entrepreneurial development and coaching, including the establishment or enhancement of employee ownership resource centers, as well as the establishment of revolving loan funds to help facilitate employee- and cooperatively-owned business models. The bill includes new funding to support "broad-based business ownership strategies for investing in distressed businesses and workers left out of traditional employment benefits, such as gig workers, contractors, caregivers, and micro-entrepreneurs."
"The Emergency Economic and Workforce Resiliency Act can play a critical part in reducing unemployment and creating a stronger and more equitable foundation for the American worker by making the tool of worker ownership a more widely used strategy for job quality and retention," said DAWI Executive Director Melissa Hoover in a statement released by Rep. Smith.
Organizations endorsing the bill include Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, Center for Law and Social Policy, National Cooperative Business Association, Impact Washington, National League of Cities, National Skills Coalition, the Democracy At Work Institute, CooperationWorks!, ICA Group, Project Equity, Northwest Cooperative Development Center, Local Enterprise Assistance Fund, National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International, Cooperative Fund of New England, US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, SEIU-UHW West, Cooperative Development Institute, Sustainable Economies Law Center, Employee Ownership Expansion Network, National Association of Workforce Boards.
For more information on supporting the passage of the Emergency Economic and Workforce Sytem Resiliency Act, contact DAWI SEED Program and Policy Manager Zen Trenholm by emailing ztrenholm [at] institute.coop.