The Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act needs a vote to help low-income students

Mar 7, 2024
Written by WR Communications

Despite studies that inform policymakers on the merits of short-term workforce training, hurdles remain when it comes to accessing grant funding. Contacting lawmakers at the state and federal levels will make a difference.

At the federal level, Congress is proposing H.R. 6585, the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act, which is sponsored by both parties’ leaders on the House Education and Workforce Committee. This proposal would help low-income individuals access Pell Grants on industry-recognized credential programs that are 8-15 weeks long. Though a vote was scheduled last week, House Leadership pulled the bill from the calendar due to insufficient support. Contacting our State’s Congressional delegates will help.

In Washington State’s 2024 legislative session, the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee heard SB 5958 which would establish a grant program for low-income students to receive grants for pursuing retail-related micro-credentials when federal aid is not available. At committee hearings, a retail management certificate instructor at a local community college provided data about the value of short-term credentials: workers who receive short-term certificates stay with their employers five years longer, receive twice as many promotions, and enjoy 33% higher wages. Over half of the certificate recipients will continue to higher education! This bill, however, did not move out of committee.

Advocating to promote an entry-level workforce is a practical application of our Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (JEDI) principles. WR will continue collaborating with our allies in the House and Senate to enhance access to grants for low-income students, enabling them to obtain credentials that will help advance their careers.



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