Senate passes job skills bill

A bill requiring development of a job skills evaluation system to determine what the unemployed need to get work was passed by the Nevada Senate on Thursday.

Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said Senate Bill 219 is designed to determine what kinds of work the unemployed are qualified for and what training they might need to become qualified for available jobs in their area.

Republican Minority Leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, and Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, both questioned the funding for the program, which they said wasn't clearly spelled out in the bill. McGinness said the idea is worthy but he is concerned about where the money would come from.

Horsford said the money will come from the general fund, but not from revenues already included in Gov. Brian Sandoval's budget. He said it would come later in session from the excess above the mandatory 5 percent ending fund balance the state is required to keep in its treasury. He said the bill anticipates spending about $400,000 by the end of this calendar year to have Truckee Meadows Community College and the College of Southern Nevada conduct the study.

Horsford said the plan could either link those unemployed workers with a job or with the training they need to get a job.

But he said it also would provide the state valuable information on what it needs to do to get people back to work.

"This could tell us much about what we need to do to improve the job skills of Nevadans," Horsford said.

Despite the questions about the program's funding, the bill passed unanimously with all 10 Republicans supporting it.

It goes to the Assembly for review.


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