U.S. Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) reintroduced two bills to help workers access skills training. The Skills Investment Act would expand Coverdell Education Savings Accounts—tax advantaged savings accounts for educational expenses—so American workers can use the accounts to pay for skills training, apprenticeships, and professional development. The Skills Renewal Act, introduced alongside Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC), would create a flexible skills training credit in the amount of $4,000 per person for workers who have lost their job due to the coronavirus pandemic to cover the cost of skills training programs for high-demand capabilities. Companion legislation for the Skills Investment Act and Skills Renewal Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA).
“Washington is stuck in the past and doesn’t spend enough time talking about the future of work,” said Sasse. “We need smart, flexible policy to reflect the continuing evolution of work: people aren’t just changing jobs more often — their changing entire industries with much more frequency. This bipartisan legislation can help American workers complete new skills development and retraining programs. That’s a good start.”
“As millions of American workers seek to re-enter the workforce after becoming unemployed during the pandemic, we must help them access training and development programs that will position them for success,” said Klobuchar. “The Skills Investment Act and Skills Renewal Act will help Americans afford the education necessary to thrive in their careers, helping set them on a path to long-term prosperity.”
“Even before this pandemic, folks were feeling the impacts of disruptive economic change. Workers need to be empowered to navigate those changes – they can’t be left behind,” said Kilmer. “That’s why I’m proud to be leading these two legislative efforts that give American workers a hand, helping them enroll in apprenticeships, college classes, or retraining programs, so they can learn new skills, land new jobs, and earn a good living.”
The Skills Investment Act and Skills Renewal Act are endorsed by Third Way and the National Skills Coalition. The Skills Renewal Act is also endorsed by the Security Industry Association, American Society of Association Executives, and the Professional Certification Coalition.