A bill before the U.S. House of Representatives aims to help more students and workers afford workforce training and credentialing programs.
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger reintroduced the Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce bill Wednesday.
According to a release, this bill would give people the freedom to use a “529” savings plan to cover the costs of some workforce training and credentialing programs.
The legislation would also let students use such funds to pay for associated costs from certification exams and maintenance of certification credentials.
Under current law, eligible 529 expenses only cover colleges, vocational schools, universities and other post-secondary institutions.
“Especially as we rebuild our economy in the wake of COVID-19, we need to make sure Central Virginia students and workers receive the training required to remain competitive and successful. 529 savings plans have long ensured that the next generation of Virginia workers can afford a higher education, but students are currently constrained from using these accounts to pay for necessary credentialing programs and exams,” said Spanberger. “Our bipartisan, bicameral legislation would give Virginia students and workers the ability to use their 529 plans to cover tuition, books, and testing costs related to these training programs. I’m proud to stand alongside Representatives [Fred] Upton, [Dean] Phillips, and [Rob] Wittman in reintroducing this commonsense bill, and I’d like to thank Senators [Amy] Klobuchar and [Mike] Braun for leading this effort in the U.S. Senate. As we watch incredibly specialized trades emerge across our area, I’ll keep working to make these programs more affordable and accessible.”
The National Skills Coalition says middle-skill jobs, which require more than a high school education but not a bachelor’s degree, make up the largest part of the labor market in the United States.
However, there is a lack of adequately-trained workers to fill such openings.
The release says this legislation would amend the current law to let workers and students use a 529 plan to pay for training or credentialing programs that are recognized by a state government or the federal government.
This would also include such programs that are widely recognized as providing reputable credentials in a given occupation.
To read the full text of the legislation, click here.