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Herrera Beutler Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Help Southwest Washington Residents Access Jobs Training

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Washington, March 18, 2021 | comments

Today, U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), Andy Levin (MI-09), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), John Katko (NY-24), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE At Large), and Ashley Hinson (IA-01) reintroduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act that expands Pell Grant eligibility to qualifying short-term training programs to help more Americans gain access to industry recognized credentials.

This bill provides the companion to legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

“As we look toward recovery from the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to ensure folks have a clear path to secure good-paying jobs. Pell Grants exist to help individuals develop the knowledge and skills to enter careers, so I’m pleased to help lead this solution to expand their eligibility to cover high-quality job training programs. Our goal is to have a workforce that’s prepared to create a better future for themselves and their families,” Herrera Beutler said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the fabric of our economy, causing many to consider new career and workforce opportunities. I am pleased to join my colleagues in re-introducing the JOBS Act today, which can help Americans as they consider new job opportunities and connect employers with dedicated employees to help bridge the skills gap in Ohio. It is imperative that Congress look for bipartisan solutions, like the JOBS Act, to get Americans back to work,” Gonzalez said.

“As our economy begins to recover, we must ensure our workers are prepared for good jobs in high-demand fields. Many hard-working people who were laid off during the pandemic are looking to make career changes, and they deserve access to strong job training programs. I’m proud to reintroduce the bipartisan JOBS Act to expand Pell Grant eligibility and help Nevadans afford rigorous short-term job training programs with federal aid. The JOBS Act will expand opportunities, increase economic mobility, and build better futures for workers in Nevada and across the nation,” Horsford said.

“Central Virginia’s workforce training programs provide rich opportunities for area students and workers to gain essential skills in trades ranging from commercial truck driving to IT. But many students in our region’s short-term programs are ineligible to apply for Pell Grants, which could otherwise help them afford the training they need to meet their long-term career goals. I’ve personally heard directly from community college instructors and administrators in our district about this issue and the need to expand Pell Grant eligibility. That’s why I’m proud to help reintroduce the bipartisan JOBS Act — and I look forward to working with my colleagues to expand opportunities for the next generation of Central Virginia workers and their families,” Spanberger said.

“As a nation, we must work to foster a globally competitive workforce by investing in education and making training programs more accessible. That’s why, I’m glad to join lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in introducing the JOBS Act. This commonsense measure would help students access training programs that prepare them for highly skilled, good-paying jobs,” Katko said.

“As the founder of the bipartisan Future of Work Caucus, one of my priorities since coming to Congress has been ensuring that young people have access to high-quality education and job training programs. By expanding Pell grant eligibility for short-term job training programs, the JOBS Act provides those opportunities and expands access to programs that would otherwise be inaccessible, particularly for low-income individuals. As we continue our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic the JOBS Act will help provide critical workforce development opportunities for the American people,” Blunt Rochester said.

“Our district is home to many community colleges that offer career and technical education programs for students. I am proud to help introduce the JOBS Act, legislation that will help more Iowans access workforce development programs. This high-quality skills training empowers students to reach their full potential and connect them to good paying, in-demand jobs in the community after graduation. I will keep working on common sense policies that ensure Iowans have access to opportunity,” Hinson said.

“Our economy is only as strong as the next generation of American workers, particularly those facing the consequences of our country’s massive income and wealth inequality. The key to ensuring young Americans transition seamlessly into good-paying careers is to make sure that high quality education and job training is affordable and accessible. Pell Grants have helped millions of Americans earn a better education and find a better job. I could not be more excited to partner with colleagues in both parties and both chambers to advance this vital piece of legislation,” Levin said.

“Especially amid the widespread job losses we’ve seen as a result of COVID-19, we have to update federal policies to better help Americans quickly enter or reenter the workforce. The JOBS Act will be a critical tool in retraining workers and helping us build a more sustainable and equitable economy,” Kaine said.

“As we start to turn the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic and work towards a full economic recovery, we must do a better job of ensuring that more Americans have the skills that match the jobs that are available today, and part of that is making sure that the federal government funding for education is flexible enough to pay for short-term training programs and credentials. We’ve got a lot of great job training programs in Ohio, but too many students are finding that the programs they want to take are not covered by the Pell Grant because they are shorter than the 15 week course requirement. The JOBS Act expands Pell Grant eligibility to help students get the job training they need for careers that will give them economic security and help them join the workforce. With some Americans now looking to start new jobs and careers due to COVID-19-related job loss, these training programs are more important than ever. The JOBS Act is a common sense proposal with strong bipartisan support from congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. I look forward to moving this bill forward and getting it passed into law,” Portman said.

Background

The JOBS Act would extend Pell Grant eligibility to qualified programs that are between 150 and 600 clock hours and at least eight weeks in length, meaning students from all walks of life will have access to the training and skills needed to tap into the existing job market and succeed in a 21st Century economy.

The bill amends the Higher Education Act (HEA) by adding in two additional categories that would qualify for Pell Grants: “eligible career pathway program” and “eligible job training program”. Both categories include specific criteria that must be met by a program to qualify. This includes certifying that the training provided by the program is aligned with the requirements of high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand industries in the state or local area and that upon completion of the program, the student will have a postsecondary credential recognized by the local industry.

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