February 11, 2020

Young and Kaine Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Access to Career Training

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a bipartisan bill, the Assisting Community Colleges in Educating Skilled Students (ACCESS) to Careers Act, to provide resources to states and community colleges in order to address the evolving demands of the labor market. The bill aims to boost student success and career readiness by increasing work-based learning opportunities, ensuring students have access to support services such as career navigators and counselors, and creating career pathways to meet the changing skill demands of the U.S. economy. 


“It’s no secret that as our economy changes, so do the demands of our workforce. New evidence-based innovations in postsecondary education have been discovered to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Senator Young. “This bill would harness those successful models and provide resources to states and community colleges – giving students the tools to succeed in high-demand careers.”


“It’s important that states make strategic investments to set students up for success in the constantly-evolving labor market, and the best training for high-wage, high-skill, or in-demand jobs is often offered by community colleges. This bipartisan bill would invest in students and help prepare them for careers that build the backbone of our economy,” said Senator Kaine.


The rapidly changing U.S. economy demands agile education and workforce development systems that can keep up with changing skill demands. This bill builds on lessons learned in the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program (TAACCCT), a program that increased the ability of community colleges to address the challenges of today’s labor market. It authorizes the Secretary of Education to provide:


·       Grants to States to develop innovative models that support student success and workforce preparedness. The bill supports partnerships with local community colleges with employers and workforce entities to create pathways to in-demand industries.


·       Grants to Community Colleges and Consortia of Community Colleges to carry out program activities, increase the number of students who attain postsecondary credentials in high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand industry sectors, and assist colleges to develop and improve strategies to support student success.


“Grants like those in the ACCESS to Careers Act provide the opportunity to build capacity within community colleges, which is critical in ensuring the availability of training resources and equipment to meet labor market demands in high-demand/high-wage careers. Through such grants community colleges including Ivy Tech have enriched our training capabilities in multiple industry-aligned areas including advanced manufacturing, information technology, and bioscience. Additional opportunities will enable community colleges to be more nimble and meet industry standards in rapidly changing technological areas,” said President Sue Ellspermann, Ivy Tech Community College.


The legislation is endorsed by Jobs for the Future (JFF), National Skills Coalition (NSC), Higher Learning Advocates, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT).


You can access the text of the legislation here.