Proposed bill would ensure that working people could afford the training they need to qualify for available jobs and help America’s businesses hire the talent they need.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, National Skills Coalition (NSC) praised Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) for introducing legislation that would make it easier for working adults and other low-income students to get Pell Grants for short-term training programs., The Jumpstart our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S. 206) would authorize Pell Grants for job training programs at community colleges and other institutions of higher education.
“Despite strong demand, key industries are unable to find enough trained workers to fill “middle-skill” jobs said Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of National Skills Coalition. “This ‘skills gap’ keeps the economy from growing. It keeps employers from hiring. And it keeps a lot of Americans from moving up in their careers and earning more money.”
According to an NSC analysis, just over half of the job opening between now and 2022 will be for middle-skill jobs. Middle-skill jobs account for 54 percent of United States’ labor market, but only 44 percent of the country’s workers are trained to the middle-skill level.
“It’s time we put our money where the jobs are,” Van Kleunen said. “We should be investing in people who want to work in the industries that are hiring. Unfortunately, our federal financial aid programs – especially Pell grants – have not kept up with the changing demands of the 21st century economy.”
The JOBS Act would ensure that qualified education and training programs would be aligned with the needs of local employers and lead to a recognized postsecondary credential. The bill would also encourage eligible institutions to connect short-term credential programs to career pathways and provide basic skills instruction to support student success.
“The bipartisan JOBS Act has support from the business, education, labor, and workforce development communities. It’s a critical step towards eliminating outdated barriers to Pell, while also making sure that short-term postsecondary programs are aligned with needs of local and regional industries. We applaud Senators Kaine and Portman for their leadership on this issue, and we look forward to working with Congress to advance this proposal," Van Kleunen said.
National Skills Coalition is a broad-based coalition of employers, unions, education and training providers, and public officials working toward a vision of an America that grows its economy by investing in its people so that every worker and every industry has the skills to compete and prosper.