Blunt Rochester Introduced JOBS Act to Address Job Shortages

Wilmington, February 14, 2023 | Victoria Panzera (302-753-7684)

WILMINGTON, Del. – Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) recently introduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act alongside Reps. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), and Michael Turner (R-Ohio). This legislation would expand eligibility for federal Pell Grant programs to individuals interested in pursuing short-term, high-quality education and training programs to address the worker shortage by closing the skills gap.

“Right now, we have more job openings than folks looking for work. That’s why I’m proudly joining Rep. Johnson to introduce the JOBS Act in the 118th Congress,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester. “As the founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Future of Work Caucus, it’s a top priority of mine that young people are prepared to do the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow, and that starts by ensuring that they have access to high-quality education and job training programs. By expanding Pell Grant eligibility, the JOBS Act expands opportunities for students, especially low-income individuals, to gain valuable, transferable skills to help them secure good-paying jobs and will help us address the workforce shortage impacting industries across the country. The JOBS Act will help us strengthen our workforce all while preparing young people for the future – and I am hopeful that we can work across the aisle to bring this bill to the House floor.”

“We have a serious workforce problem in America. But, the road to entering our workforce with a meaningful career doesn’t always have to start with obtaining a traditional four-year degree at a university...a path that often burdens students with thousands of dollars in student loans. There are enough open jobs nationwide to employ every American seeking work, but not every applicant has the necessary skills to fill in-demand jobs,” said Rep. Bill Johnson. “The JOBS Act would help close the skills gap and address the nationwide worker shortage by expanding Pell Grant eligibility; this needed expansion will provide support to individuals who are eager and ready to better their lives and enter America’s growing workforce.”

“Our bill to expand Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in high-quality skills and job training programs will help more New Jerseyans obtain fulfilling careers and support employers in their efforts to find skilled talent,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill. “It is critical that we work across the aisle and find bipartisan solutions, like the JOBS Act, to meet the demands of a 21st-century economy.”

“As America builds its next generation economy, Ohio is a top destination for investment because of our existing and future workforce. Our postsecondary institutions have already developed the programs that give my constituents a path to a fruitful career, and we can count on those institutions to continue to answer our call to train Ohioans for the modern economy. The JOBS Act expands Pell Grant eligibility to much-needed certificate and apprenticeship programs, which will help connect students who have financial needs to the opportunities available in Ohio’s – and America’s – near future,” said Rep. Michael Turner.

The JOBS Act would amend the Higher Education Act by: 

Providing a fix to bridge our country’s skills gap by extending Pell Grant eligibility to qualified programs that are between 150 and 600 clock hours and at least eight weeks in length. The bill amends the Higher Education Act (HEA) by adding two additional categories that would qualify for Pell Grants: “eligible career pathway program” and “eligible job training program.” Both categories include specific criteria that must be met by a program to qualify. 

This includes certifying that the training provided by the program is aligned with the requirements of high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand industries in the state or local area and that upon completion of the program, the student will have a postsecondary credential recognized by the local industry. These guardrails ensure that Pell Grant funds are allocated towards efficient programs that yield good-paying jobs for students.

The JOBS Act was endorsed by the following organizations: National Skills Coalition, Progressive Policy Institute, Jobs for the Future (JFF), IBM, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, National Association of Workforce Boards, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Cengage, Higher Learning Advocates, American Association of Community Colleges (AAAC), Advance CTE, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Delaware Technical Community College, Delaware Contractors Association, Business Roundtable, and Rebuilding America’s Middle Class.

For full text of the bill, click here.



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