The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives endorsed legislation last week to expand Pell Grant eligibility for qualifying short-term training programs.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, praised the bill.
“Short-term training programs are a vital tool to help millions of Americans receive the skills necessary to give them a leg up in our ... global economy,” Lipinski said in a news release. “The JOBS Act addresses head-on the millions of jobs left unfulfilled in the U.S. because companies are unable to find qualified workers.”
The bill’s supporters argued that while there are several resources for those pursuing college degrees, the same cannot be said for those pursuing shorter-term training programs.
The legislation aims to fix the problem by extending Pell Grant eligibility to qualified programs that are between 150 and 600 hours and at least eight weeks in length. This would result in more qualified candidates who better fit jobs available in industries where employers struggle to fill open positions. Lipinski said that when about half of small business owners report few or no qualified applicants for their openings, that’s a problem.
“We must do all we can to increase opportunities for students to take part in training programs that close the gap and prepare them for success,” Lipinski said.