This past week, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) honored the 50th anniversary of the New Don Pedro Project with a statement in the Saturday, May 22 Congressional Record. The statement was delivered to the Modesto Irrigation District and will hang in the visitor’s lobby at the project site. In his statement, Rep. Harder not only recognized the historic nature of the multi-purpose project that provides safe drinking water and power to the residents of Modesto, he also used the opportunity to underscore his support of water storage projects in the Central Valley.
“For those of us in the Valley, water is crucial to our economy more than anywhere else in the country,” said Rep. Harder. “Since its completion on May 22, 1971, the Don Pedro project has supplied the irrigation water for families and farmers across the Central Valley. With the help of this project, our region is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. That is why we must invest in our water infrastructure. Our livelihoods depend on it. It’s common sense – we need water to prepare against droughts, wildfires, and floods. Water is the lifeblood of the Valley and that’s why I’m committed to working with both the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts to preserve it.”
This recognition builds on Harder’s continued work on the issue of water in the Central Valley. He has pushed the Biden administration to include water storage in the upcoming infrastructure bill, called on Governor Newsom to include Central Valley voices in all drought decisions, published a list of water projects he’s working to fund this year, and already secured millions for Central Valley water projects.
On another front, as part of his continued effort to bring more jobs to the Central Valley, Harder also recently announced the reintroduction of his bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act. The bill would provide funding for hands-on skills education at after-school programs for students starting in elementary school.
Forty one percent of students express concerns about whether they will have the skills they need to find a job upon graduation. The Youth Workforce Readiness Act will ensure that students are exposed to a wide array of technical education offerings at after-school programs, such as the Boys and Girls Club of America, starting at age six.
“Investing in our kids is a no-brainer. This bill will make sure our kids learn the skills they need for long and successful careers,” said Harder. “As we rebuild from the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we get our kids ready for their futures, and that means making sure they’re learning both in and out of the classroom.”
The bill is led by Senators Graham (SC), Collins (ME), Smith (MN) and Wyden (OR) and Representatives Fitzpatrick (PA-8), Pocan (WI-2), and McClain (MI-10). The bill has also been endorsed by the Boys & Girls Clubs in both Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.
“Investing in a skilled workforce is essential for our national and local economies,” said Craig R. Orona, Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County President & CEO. “Job readiness skills for our youth are needed more than ever before to ensure a prepared and productive 21st century workforce. Congressman Josh Harder’s leadership, advocacy, and commitment to a policy that focuses on youth workforce readiness is not only appreciated, but essential. The Youth Workforce Readiness Act demonstrates his commitment to our youth for generations to come.”