Congressional Democrats Highlight Skills Training as Part of “Better Deal”

By Kermit Kaleba, July 24, 2017

Congressional Democrats today released details of a new messaging campaign in advance of the 2018 elections that will highlights tax incentives for employer-based training while also boosting federal investments in apprenticeship and public-private partnerships.

The “Better Deal” campaign being rolled out this week will focus on a range of proposals, including efforts to increase federal support for infrastructure, reduce health care costs, and support family leave policies. The campaign also places significant emphasis on the idea of creating up to 10 million full-time jobs, in part by helping U.S. workers get access to skills and credentials that will support career advancement.

The materials released today emphasize three major policy ideas on skills:

  • Expanding registered apprenticeship and work-based learning, specifically by doubling the federal investment in apprenticeship. Congress has appropriated $95 million to support registered apprenticeship expansion as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 omnibus spending package approved in May, though the House appropriations committee recently passed an FY’18 spending bill that would eliminate apprenticeship funding next year.
  • Providing a new tax credit for employers who hire and train new workers. This proposal would provide an unspecified tax credit to employers who hire and train new workers, so long as those workers are being paid a good wage and retain full-time employment with the business for a set period of time.
  • Creating a network of partnerships between businesses and career and technical education programs, including at community colleges. The proposal suggests that these investments will include both sector partnerships authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and other partnerships with community and technical colleges and other training providers.

The ideas outlined in the Better Deal agenda are aligned with many of the proposals in National Skills Coalition’s Skills for Good Jobs paper released last November, particularly the focus on work-based learning and expanding partnerships between business and other stakeholders. We applaud Congressional Democrats for their support for these critical investments in skills, and we look forward to working with Congress and the Trump administration to advance policies that will help workers and businesses stay competitive in today’s economy.