February 07, 2024

Young, Kaine Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Boost Student Success and Career Readiness

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, reintroduced the bipartisan Assisting Community Colleges in Educating Skilled Students (ACCESS) to Careers Act. The legislation would boost student success and career readiness by increasing work-based learning opportunities and apprenticeships, ensuring students have access to support services like career navigators and counselors, and creating career pathways to meet the changing skill demands of the U.S. economy.

“From life sciences to semiconductors to pharma to ag, many exciting things are made in Indiana by Hoosier workers,” said Senator Young. “We need to support the ingenuity and talent of our Hoosier workforce by increasing work-based learning opportunities and apprenticeships. Our bipartisan bill will help provide greater access to the training and education needed in our modern economy.”

“The needs of our economy are often changing, and Virginians should have easier access to the training and education they need to adapt and get good-paying, in-demand jobs,” said Senator Kaine. “The ACCESS to Careers Act would help provide students with those opportunities, boost Virginia’s economy, and help employers hire high-skilled workers.”

Specifically, the ACCESS to Careers Act would authorize the Secretary of Education to provide: 

  • Grants to states to develop strategies such as dual enrollment, apprenticeships, and accelerated training programs to support student success and workforce preparedness. 
  • Grants to Community Colleges and Consortia of Community Colleges to increase the number of students who attain postsecondary credentials in high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand industries and develop and improve strategies to support student success. 

Young and Kaine have long led efforts to expand access to job training, including introducing the Data for American Jobs Act in 2023 to ensure that federal education data and research incorporates job training to help improve states’ career readiness programs, meet the needs of the economy, and expand the skilled workforce.

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

Full text of the bill is available here.