Representatives Horsford and Guthrie introduce bipartisan SKILL UP Act to empower businesses to invest in workers who need it the most

By Katie Spiker, February 14, 2020

On February 13th, Representatives Stephen Horsford (D-NV) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced the bipartisan SKILL UP Act to empower businesses to invest in workers who need it the most.

Millions of jobs remain open because workers don’t have an opportunity to develop necessary skills, but tax policy isn’t currently structured to stimulate businesses to invest in workers who need it the most — including veterans, out-of-school youth, and the long-term unemployed.

Today’s introduction of the SKILL UP Act would help modernize tax policy by amending the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). As currently structured, WOTC provides businesses with a credit for hiring workers from target populations. SKILL UP Act would update WOTC to better support private investment in upskilling workers in several ways:

  • Provide businesses who hire WOTC eligible hires – and provide them with eligible work-based learning opportunities – up to the maximum credit amount of $9,600 per worker.
  • Allow businesses – including small and mid-size companies and nonprofit employers like those in health care – to apply the credit to their payroll taxes.
  • Expand allowable time for worker certification under the training provision in WOTC to ensure workers have supports to be successful in work-based learning opportunities.

Businesses and workers support these incentives to help upskill workers across
industries. Seventy-four percent of business leaders say their businesses would benefit from targeted tax incentives for investments in skills training for these workers. Ninety percent of likely voters support this kind of incentive to help prepare workers for jobs of the 21st century.

In December of 2019, Congress passed a one-year extender on WOTC, meaning the provision will be up for negotiations at the end of 2020. Workforce and work-based learning issues continue to be areas of bipartisan interest and priority for members of Congress and National Skills Coalition applauds the Representatives’ leadership in the introduction of SKILL UP.

NSC looks forward to working with Representatives Horsford and Guthrie to advance SKILL UP Act and make it easier for businesses to invest in workers’ skills.