July 12, 2019

Cortez Masto Questions Fed Chair about Wage Stagnation, Highlights Importance of Investing in Trades

Washington, D.C. – At a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) questioned Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell about the wage stagnation affecting college and non-college educated workers and raised concerns about the lack of detailed data on labor skill levels in the Monetary Policy Report. Cortez Masto argued that higher education is not the only way for Americans to achieve higher incomes, and she called on Powell to consider the value of apprenticeships and trade education in the Fed’s future research.

“Here’s the problem and concerns I have with these numbers and categories. Come to my state of Nevada – high-skilled labor, organized labor. Individuals graduate high school, but they don’t get a college degree. They go through an apprenticeship and learn a skill or a trade, and they are making good money, sometimes better than some of the folks that go to college,” said Senator Cortez Masto.

She continued, “What I see in these numbers is not a reflection of the true demographics of who we are as a country…I think people with a high school education can [get] a good job. They may not be destined to go to a college or university, but they can go through an apprenticeship program, they can be that skilled labor that we need in this country.”

“We should be investing in those individuals and getting them back to a level where they can go through those apprenticeship programs,” the senator said.

Full video is of this exchange is available here.