Herrera Beutler backs bill for tech ed financial aid


U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Andy Levin (D-MI), John Katko (R-NY), and Steven Horsford (D-NV) introduced legislation last Wednesday to expand access to financial aid for technical education programs. H.R. 3497, the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act 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).

“My focus has always been on making sure Southwest Washington residents can get good-paying jobs, which means providing a path for workers to pursue better opportunities. One way to empower folks to earn more is to ensure they have the skills and training necessary to compete for available jobs,” Herrera Beutler said. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort to expand Pell Grant eligibility to cover high-quality, short-term job training programs so more folks can gain upward mobility.”

While there are currently several resources to help people achieve traditional college degrees, the need for aid to attend shorter-term training programs has gone largely unfulfilled. As a result, those wishing to pursue post-secondary education pathway other than a traditional degree are often overlooked and industries across the country are facing growing skills gaps. The JOBS Act fixes this problem by extending 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.

“In Ohio alone, over 152,000 jobs remain available – 80,700 of which are paying over $50,000. With employers clamoring for more qualified employees, these jobs are untapped opportunities for our workers, our students and our children,” Gonzalez said. “The JOBS Act is critical to providing Northeast Ohioans who don’t want to pursue a traditional degree an opportunity to advance their careers and achieve a better future.”

“The demand for a skilled workforce far exceeds the supply in today’s economy,” Richmond said. “This bill will help fill that void by expanding Pell Grant eligibility to provide six million more students access to the training and skills they need in my district and nationwide. In an evolving workforce, we must work to meet the needs of middle-skill jobs. The JOBS Act accomplishes that goal and makes a meaningful investment in the development of America’s talent.”

As the former Chief Workforce Officer for the state of Michigan, I know that our economy demands skilled workers faster than we are training them,” Levin said. “We need to modernize our education system to include more skills training programs that have the same career-transforming power as a college degree. The JOBS Act would provide important opportunities for workers who are eager to do skilled work but lack the means to get the training they need. This bill is a vital step forward in raising the standard of living for working people in America.”

“High-skill job opportunities in fields such as nursing and information technology continue to expand throughout Central New York and nationwide. Short-term training programs offered through community colleges are essential in providing the necessary skills workers need to succeed at these in-demand careers,” Katko said. “I am proud to support this legislation that expands federal Pell Grant eligibility for short-term training programs and ensures more Americans have access to high-skill, high-wage employment opportunities.”

“Nevada has the fastest growing economy in the nation, adding almost 50,000 jobs in the last month alone. However, many of these jobs are going unfilled while our workforce lacks the necessary skills,” Horsford said. “We need to create a workforce that is ready to take on the demands of a fluctuating labor Market. Through federal financial aid, the JOBS Act will make training for critical jobs in industries like healthcare, technology, and manufacturing accessible to students pursuing postsecondary certification.”


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