Bipartisan Legislation Supports Career Pathways Strategies that Combine Work, Education, and Support Services to Help Hard-Working Americans Get Ahead
WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), today reintroduced the bipartisan Gateway to Careers Act to help expand economic opportunity for hard-working Americans and to support innovative businesses in need of a strong workforce.
With low unemployment rates in states across the country, innovative businesses are struggling to hire the skilled workers they need to continue to grow and thrive. Simultaneously, as the economy rapidly changes, individuals may not have the skills and supports they need to enter – and remain – in the workforce. The Gateway to Careers Act would address this challenge by supporting career pathways strategies, which combine work, education, and support services, to help individuals earn recognized postsecondary credentials.
“As I travel across New Hampshire, the top issue I hear about from innovative businesses is the need for more highly skilled workers,” said Senator Hassan. “The bipartisan Gateway to Careers Act will help strengthen job training to meet the needs of our businesses and remove barriers that keep too many people from participating or staying in the workforce. I am encouraged that there is bipartisan support for this legislation, and I’ll keep working across party lines to pass this bill so that hard-working people and businesses have the opportunity to thrive.”
“The main focus of my Fair Shot Agenda is to ensure every Hoosier has a fair shot at success. The Gateway to Careers Act would help do just that by removing barriers that keep individuals from excelling in our ever-changing workforce,” said Senator Young. “This bill would provide resources to individuals in need, which will in turn help train our workers, expand our businesses, and grow our economy.”
“Across Virginia, businesses are seeking skilled workers to fill good-paying jobs, while students are looking for work,” said Senator Kaine. “The Gateway to Careers Act is part of an effort to bridge the skills gap and help ensure that students have the support they need to earn credentials for in-demand careers.”
“Colorado is home to some of the best and brightest innovators in the high-tech industry that help drive our national economy, and we must ensure the next generation of workers have the skills and training they need to enter our workforce,” said Senator Gardner. “This bipartisan legislation would remove barriers to training and credentials students need to secure these in-demand, high-paying jobs. I’m proud to join my colleagues on this common sense legislation, and I will continue working across the aisle to close the skills gap.”
"New Hampshire's community colleges and community colleges across the nation play key roles in advancing education and workforce training, particularly through partnerships with employers in order to meet the needs of our state and local economies," said Ross Gittell, Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire. "We appreciate Sen. Hassan's bipartisan efforts to support workforce development and to support the aspirations of all New Hampshire residents who seek to advance and contribute to the economic vitality of our state."
“A growing number of today’s college students are working adults who are pursuing the skills they need to be successful in today’s economy while balancing work and family obligations. Unfortunately, current federal policy does little to provide non-tuition support services to these students—which are proven to help them persist and succeed in their chosen postsecondary pathways,” said Katie Brown, Senior Federal Policy Analyst at National Skills Coalition. “We applaud Senators Hassan, Young, Kaine and Gardner for introducing the bipartisan Gateway to Careers Act, which will make these vital supports more accessible for working adults and other nontraditional students, and look forward to working with them to advance this legislation.”
The Gateway to Careers Act would provide grants to support partnerships between community or technical colleges and workforce development partners such as state workforce development boards, industry associations, and community-based organizations. These partnerships would support individuals who are unemployed or underemployed by strengthening job training and removing barriers that prevent them from completing a degree or credential program and succeeding in the workforce by providing support for things such as housing, mental and substance use disorder treatment, health insurance coverage, career counseling, child care, transportation, and guidance in accessing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The Gateway to Careers Act is also endorsed by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), National Immigration Forum, and the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE).
Click here for more information on the bill and to read the bill text click here.