Kilmer honored for work on economic development

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06) has been recognized for his work as a leader of workforce development policies in Congress and presented with the 2022 Sentinel Award by the American Society of Association Executives.

That membership organization has more than 44,000 association executives and industry partners representing 5,700 organizations.

ASAE recognized Kilmer for his efforts to strengthen America’s economy during COVID-19 pandemic recovery – and for his leadership on workforce development initiatives to help Americans get back — and stay — on their feet.

“Congressman Kilmer is actively promoting innovative and critically needed legislation to improve access to career development, such as the myriad professional credentials that associations provide, and to help American workers, professions and industries navigate pandemic recovery,” ASAE president and CEO Michelle Mason said.

Kilmer said the issue is important to him.

“I was in high school when the timber industry took it on the chin, and I saw the impact that it had on families in our community. That’s what inspired me to work in economic development professionally before coming to Congress. And it’s why my mission, as a representative, is to create more economic opportunity for more people in more places. We need to have an economy that works better for folks – regardless of what zip code they live in,” Kilmer said, adding, “That’s why I’ve focused so hard on bipartisan legislation to make sure we give our students and workers a better shot at success.”

In 2021, Kilmer re-introduced two bicameral bills to help workers access skills training, apprenticeships and professional development programs. The Skills Investment Act would expand Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)—tax-advantaged savings accounts for educational expenses—so American workers can use the accounts to pay for skills training, apprenticeships and professional development.

The Skills Renewal Act would create a flexible skills training credit up to $4,000 per person for workers who have lost their job due to the pandemic. That would cover the cost of a wide range of training programs that build skills expected to be in high demand by employers in coming months.