Aguilar: Top priority is growing the middle class

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Photo/Anthony Victoria: Congressman Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) speaking to students and residents about the importance of receiving financial assistance for college during a Financial Aid workshop at the Roy C. Hill Education Center in San Bernardino on Feb. 27.

My top priority has always been growing the Inland Empire’s middle class. That’s why I started my first term in Congress by hosting jobs roundtables with residents, business owners and labor leaders, which led to the release of my Jobs Plan. My Jobs Plan established a framework for me to write legislation to create jobs, host federal agency leaders to meet with the Inland Empire business community, and to hold important constituent services events to directly connect residents with the resources they need to find good-paying jobs.

Incorporating input from San Bernardino County workers and businesses is one of the most important practices I use as your representative in Congress. As a result of meetings and conversations with our friends and neighbors, I’ve introduced five different bills to get our economy moving again. These five bills incentivize skills training, help small businesses expand, assist firms impacted by flawed trade deals, waive burdensome fees on Inland Empire entrepreneurs and open communication channels for local workforce development boards to communicate with job seekers.

Working with House Democrats and Republicans, I believe we can turn these ideas into meaningful reform. I’ve worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance important bills to do this, such as the On-the-Job Training Tax Credit Act, my bill that creates a temporary tax credit to help small businesses pay for the cost of training new hires. This has both Democratic and Republican support. I was inspired to write this bill after many conversations with the Inland Empire Job Corps, which does incredible work training and preparing students of all ages and backgrounds for technical jobs that we’ll utilize more and more as we shift toward a 21st century economy.

As our region produces more skilled workers, we need to do everything in our power to ensure they have access to the resources they need to find good-paying jobs. That’s why I hosted a jobs fair last November, where I helped connect over forty job seekers with local employers looking to hire. It was an important opportunity for a lot of San Bernardino County workers and employers, which is why I’m happy to announce that I will be holding another jobs fair later this month. My Inland Empire Jobs Fair will be held at the Frank Gonzales Community Center in Colton on Friday, July 22nd from 9:00AM to noon. If you or someone you know is looking for work, please stop by. Admission is free and no RSVP is required. If you’d like additional information, please contact my office at 909-890-4445.

Our region has come a long way since the Great Recession, but we still have a lot of work to do. Too many people work multiple jobs just to make ends meet, too many parents are forced to pick between their own retirement and their children’s academic future, and too many students don’t reach their full potential because they’ve been made to believe that dreams are only achieved by those who can afford them. The Inland Empire has an important role to play in the California economy – it’s time we give our workers and students the resources they need to seize that opportunity.

Congressman Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino)

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