SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Even as the economy continues to recover, lawmakers say there’s room for improvement.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has a new proposal to help rebuild the economy.
The senator spoke in front of a packed house at the Springfield City Club Thursday. His focus was that education and a hands-on approach will help rebuild America. Merkley says in order to boost the economy, you have to start at the basics.
“Between the shop and the STEM classes, that can do a lot to prepare and nurture the manufacturing economy,” said Senator Jeff Merkley.
Implementing vocational classes that promote hands-on learning was the focus of a bill the senator introduced last week.
“STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. And these programs really are kind of modern shop classes. They’re ways of using computer-aided design and taking the principles that you might read about in physics and chemistry and mathematics courses and actually applying them,” Merkley said.
“Science and math have always been important, but they’re more important Thursday than they might’ve been for a long time in order to get the best jobs and keep the jobs here,” said Dan Egan, Springfield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.
“Giving young people these kind of skills is exactly what we need to rebuild the middle class in Oregon,” said Commissioner Brad Avakian, Bureau of Labor and Industry.
Merkley also took a strong stance on focusing on home.
“We need to end the war in Afghanistan, and we need to bring our sons and daughters home and, and we need to bring those resources home,” Merkley said.
It’s a basic vision of rebuilding America that’s already earning applause.
“It was nice to kind of see the trend how we got here and even what some of the previous solutions were to start off us better back in the 1930s,” said Bob Duey, City of Springfield Finance Director.
Senator Merkley also noted the importance of closing specific tax loop holes for special interests and dedicating those funds to infrastructure and education.