Statement of NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen on Bi-partisan Amendment to America COMPETES Act Passage by U.S. House of Representatives

February 04, 2022

NSC and partners to continue to ensure provisions meet the needs of working people, small businesses, and community and technical colleges.


“The pandemic has transformed entire industries overnight, creating high demand for rapid retraining. The Jobs Report released today reinforces this dynamic, showing a gain of 467,000 jobs in January despite the omicron surge. What’s clear is we have a very hot economy and a very tight labor market, so passage of this amendment couldn’t come at a better time not just for workers and businesses, but for a recovering economy that desperately needs newly skilled workers to fill these new jobs. In addition, the jobs created by the recently passed infrastructure bill will only increase that demand. Unfortunately, our nation’s higher education policies – developed over 50 years ago – aren’t set up to respond to these opportunities.”

“Two pieces of legislation in the bi-partisan amendment to the America COMPETES Act introduced by U.S. Representatives Andy Levin (D-MI), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Bryan Steil (R-WI), and passed today by the House, will help address this. The JOBS Act will make it possible for workers to use Pell grants to rapidly retrain through high-quality, short-term programs. And the College Transparency Act (CTA), will give workers and students accurate, timely, high-quality information to help make decisions about which programs are best for them.”

“America’s students need accurate information about what they are going to get for their investment in their education. They have access to performance data when purchasing a car, but not when making what will potentially be the biggest financial investment of their lives. CTA will provide this as well as give institutions the information they need to make adjustments that increase student completion of their education and training programs, which is something America’s business need. CTA also creates a strong evidence-base for policymaking. Policymakers invest a lot in higher education – CTA will give policymakers the information they need to maximize the impact of those investments.”

“Thank you to our coalition members for keeping these issues on the front burner for the past decade! We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, members, and Congress to ensure these provisions passed today meet the needs of working people, small businesses, and community and technical colleges.”