Spanberger, Wittman Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Allow Virginia Students & Workers to Use 529 Savings Plans to Pay for Training & Credentialing Programs

The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act Would Give Students & Workers the Freedom to Use Their 529 Savings Plans to Cover Workforce Training, Certification, & Credentialing Program Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Rob Wittman (R-VA-01) today reintroduced a bipartisan bill to help more Virginia students and workers afford high-quality workforce training and credentialing programs.

The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would give individuals in Virginia and across the country the freedom to use their 529 savings plans to cover the costs of certain workforce training and credentialing programs. Additionally, the bill would allow students to use their 529 funds to pay for associated costs related to certification exams and maintenance of certification credentials. Right now, only colleges, vocational schools, universities, or other post-secondary institutions are considered an eligible 529 education savings plan expense.

“In Virginia, 529 savings accounts have long helped the next generation of our workforce afford a higher education. But right now, Virginia students can’t use these accounts to pay for the credentialing and licensing programs many of them need to succeed,” said Spanberger. “Especially as we see more specialized, cutting-edge industries grow in the Commonwealth, we need to fix this issue. Our bipartisan bill would give Virginia students and workers the ability to use their 529 accounts to cover tuition, books, and testing costs related to key training programs — and I’m once again proud to join my Virginia colleague Congressman Wittman in introducing this commonsense legislation.”

“Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are essential to the future development of our nation,” said Wittman. “We have a responsibility to prepare students for the demands of our workforce and economy, and we must do what we can to offer options for them to afford postsecondary education and career training. The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act will provide students in Virginia and across the nation with the opportunity to use their 529 plans to cover tuition, exam, training, and supply costs associated with obtaining postsecondary education workforce certifications. As we work to build our future workforce, this legislation will be instrumental in assisting students with securing in-demand, good-paying jobs. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this bill and ensure students have the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st-century job market.”

The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act is supported by the American Society of Association Executives, Virginia 529, and the Professional Certification Coalition — which represents more than 100 organizations.

According to the National Skills Coalition, middle-skill jobs — which require more than a high school education but not a bachelor’s degree — comprise the largest component of America’s labor market. However, key industries cannot find adequately-trained workers to fill these jobs.

Specifically, the bipartisan Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would amend current law to allow workers and students to use their 529 plans to pay for training or credentialing programs recognized by a state government or the federal government — or widely recognized as providing reputable credentials in the occupation. Simultaneously, the bill would maintain the current allowable uses for 529 plan expenses — such as colleges and vocational schools.

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