February 08, 2018

Senator Hassan Introduces Gateway to Careers Act to Expand Opportunity and Help Innovative Businesses Thrive

Legislation Will Support Career Pathways Strategies that Combine Work, Education, and Support Services

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced the Gateway to Careers Act to expand economic opportunity for hard-working Granite Staters and Americans and strengthen the nation’s workforce to help innovative businesses succeed. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Jack Reed (D-RI) are cosponsors of the bill.

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 our economy changes rapidly, 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 industry-recognized credentials.

“The number one thing I hear from innovative businesses across New Hampshire is the need for more highly skilled workers, and at the same time, we know that too many people do not have the skills and supports they need to enter – and remain – in the workforce,” Senator Hassan said. “By strengthening job training and removing barriers that prevent too many people from participating in the workforce, the Gateway to Careers Act is an innovative way to expand economic opportunity for hard-working Granite Staters and Americans while helping to ensure that our businesses have the workers they need to thrive, and ultimately saving taxpayer dollars by getting people back to work and off of public assistance.”

"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 efforts to support workforce development efforts and to support the aspirations of all New Hampshire residents who seek to advance and contribute to the economic vitality of our state."

“More and more of today’s college students are working adults who are balancing work and family obligations with postsecondary attendance, but current federal policy does little to help them succeed in these critical programs,” said Kermit Kaleba, Federal Policy Director of the National Skills Coalition. “The Gateways to Careers Act will provide vital resources to help working adults and other non-traditional students get skills and credentials that matter in today’s economy. We applaud Senator Hassan and her cosponsors for their leadership on this issue, and we 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, including housing, mental and substance use disorder treatment, assistance in obtaining health insurance coverage, career counseling, childcare, transportation, and guidance in accessing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Senator Hassan visited Granite State Manufacturing earlier this week, an innovative business that is partnering with Manchester Community College to develop a welding apprenticeship program. Manchester Community College’s Welding Program is an example of a career pathways model that allows students to complete a shorter-term credential or pursue an associate’s degree in Welding Technology so that they are equipped to meet the needs of innovative businesses like Granite State Manufacturing. The Gateway to Careers Act would support and expand upon efforts like these that are already underway in New Hampshire and across the country.

The Gateways to Career Act has been endorsed by the National Skills Coalition, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Advance CTE, and the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE).

Click here for more information on the bill.

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