Labor Secretary talks infrastructure plan, unemployment benefits in Kansas

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Congress is working on a large infrastructure plan, and the Biden administration is touting the number of jobs that could come with it.

The president originally laid out a $2 trillion proposal called the American Jobs Plan but talks of a compromise fell apart with Republicans last week. That plan includes money for more than just roads and bridges.

“I definitely think the job training, workforce development aspect of this bill is important for Kansas and the region,” said United States Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

He said the plan includes things like childcare and improving drinking water quality. He said for Kansas, creating more business apprenticeships and increasing access to the internet will help address the worker shortage in the state.

“To capitalize on young people that come to college, to keep them there, to look at emerging industries, to create opportunities. People are going to follow where the jobs are,” Walsh said.

When asked about the back and forth between Governor Laura Kelly and legislative leaders about whether to keep extra federal unemployment benefits, Walsh said the dollars need to remain in place even as some are blaming the money on companies struggling to find employees.

“Because there is still people that need it, and I think that the extra $300, and in the CARES Act, the extra 600 dollars, it was needed because of extraordinary times,” he said.

The extra unemployment money lasts until September.

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