Eastern Iowans will be able to give their opinions about how best to rebuild the middle class during a Congressional field hearing to be held in Davenport on Friday afternoon. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and he’ll preside over the meeting.
“I’m bringing my committee to the Quad Cities because Davenport and other communities have experienced huge economic changes in recent decades,” Harkin says. “In response, they have pursued several smart, creative economic development strategies to attract businesses and boost manufacturing. On Friday, I want to shine a spotlight on these strategies.”
For decades, Harkin says, the middle class has been falling behind, as “wages haven’t kept up with costs and families’ savings accounts have dried up along with home values and good jobs.” “In the coming year, my committee will continue to put rebuilding the middle class at the forefront of its agenda,” Harkin says.
“This will include major new legislation which I will introduce in the coming months to invest in 21st century infrastructure as well as manufacturing, education, workforce training and improving retirement security.” In particular, he says leaders in the Quad Cities have found ways to overcome difficult economic challenges by targeting younger members of the workforce, for starters.
“There are some interesting investments in manufacturing and in new technologies in Davenport,” Harkin says. “They’re teaching young people new techniques of welding. You think, ‘Welding, they’ve been doing that for a long time,’ but these are new kinds of techniques, new job-training kinds of programs that we need for the future.”
Harkin’s hearing is scheduled for 1:15 P.M. on Friday at the John T. Blong Tech Center in Davenport. Prior to the hearing, Harkin will tour the welding room at the center, which houses a partnership between John Deere, local schools and workers.