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- Skills Mismatch
On January 25th, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, introduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, legislation that would amend the Higher Education Act by expanding Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in short-term job training programs. The bill would help students access training for the 5.5 million vacant jobs that are unfilled in part due to a shortage of qualified workers.
Read NSC’s press release .
Under current law, Pell Grants – needs-based grants for low-income and working students— can only be applied toward programs that are over 600 clock hours or at least 15 weeks in length, even though many job training programs are shorter term. The JOBS Act would expand Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in high-quality job training programs that are at least 8 weeks in length and lead to industry-recognized credentials and certificates.
According to NSC’s own analysis, nearly half of all job openings between now and 2024 will be “middle-skill” jobs that require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree. While the number of students pursuing postsecondary certification is growing, the supply of skilled workers still falls short of industry demand. Middle-skill jobs account for 53 percent of United States’ labor market, but only 43 percent of the country’s workers are trained to the middle-skill level.
National Skills Coalition applauds Senators Kaine and Portman for their continued leadership in expanding access to high quality postsecondary education, consistent with the higher education proposals outlined in our Skills for New Jobs Agenda. We look forward to working with the Senators to advance this important legislation.