Ranking Member Scott Unveils Bill to Make Training Programs More Affordable

WASHINGTON – Today, Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) unveiled legislation to make short-term training programs more affordable for adult learners and help businesses recruit highly-qualified candidates. 

The Jobs to Compete Act expands Pell Grant eligibility to adults in high-quality, short-term training programs. This expansion is particularly important as demand for short-term training courses has increased among adult learners and employers, and federal investment in workforce development programs has fallen by two-thirds, when adjusted for inflation, over the past 40 years.

“Right now, adults cannot use a Pell Grant on short-term training programs, like IT or welding courses. As a result, many adults cannot afford to attend or complete courses that will help them get a good-paying job and compete in the modern economy. This is a disservice to our students, workers, and employers,” said Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott. “The Jobs to Compete Act will take a long overdue step by expanding Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality, short term training programs. By providing adults more opportunities to participate in training programs, Congress will ensure more Americans have a pathway to the middle class, and businesses will be able to hire the well-trained workers they need.”

Roughly 80 percent of all jobs in the 21st century economy require some level of post-secondary education or training, and 24 percent of all post-secondary credentials achieved are earned through short-term training programs. Additionally, employers are now demanding less traditional degrees and more skilled training. In fact, 62 percent of Americans prefer a career path that does not require a four-year degree. 

Despite growing demand for short-term training programs, adult learners are often unable to access training courses due to decades of federal disinvestment in workforce development programs, and rising costs. 

In 2021, the average amount spent on adults participating in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programsthe primary way the United States funds adult and career technical education—was $2,128, even though many high-quality short-term training programs can range in cost between $1,000 and $10,000. The difference between the amount covered and the full cost often keeps students and workers from participating in short-term training programs.

The Jobs to Compete Act will meet the demands of students, workers, and businesses and help correct federal disinvestment in workforce development programs.

For a fact sheet on the Jobs to Compete Act, click here.

For a section-by-section on the Jobs to Compete Act, click here.


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