October 19, 2017 - Arlington, Va. – Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) President and CEO Steve Gunderson issued the following statement in response to House introduction of H.R. 4078, the Expanding Education for America’s Workforce Act of 2017, which would establish programs providing access to affordable and meaningful post-secondary higher education options that lead to good paying jobs. The legislation is sponsored by Representatives Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Alcee Hastings (D-FL).
“CECU applauds Congressman Hunter (R-Calfornia) and Hastings (D-Florida) for their leadership on this critical workforce development issue,” said Gunderson. “By 2024, America needs 46.5 million new workers. Now more than ever, it is important that our federal policies reflect and serve the changing needs of our modern economy. This bi-partisan legislation, which supports access to quality and affordable higher education opportunities, is a big step toward supporting students in their efforts to obtain career skills that will lead to real jobs. We urge Congress to pass this legislation immediately.”
The Expanding Education for America’s Workforce Act of 2017 would ensure that America’s federal workforce investment strategy supports our future workers by providing access, opportunity and quality education to students seeking new or enhanced career skills. The legislation includes important changes in federal policy that begin to create a strategy for higher education policy that is similar to the realities of today’s workforce.
“A postsecondary education is more important than ever to help students and workers pursue successful and fulfilling careers, but there are major challenges facing our higher education system. The Expanding Education for America’s Workforce Act will expand high-quality career and technical education opportunities for students,” said Gunderson.
To speak with Mr. Gunderson, please contact Clay Sutton at firstname.lastname@example.org , or call (540) 236-8227.
Policies that will modernize and connect higher education to jobs should be at the center of Congress’ reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
“Expanding America’s Workforce Act of 2017,” (H.R. 4078) includes several key provisions described below, as provided by Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL). Policymakers should include these reforms in any reauthorization of the HEA that will directly connect postsecondary education to jobs:
Short-Term Workforce Pell Grants:
A key element of the legislation is to provide a pathway for students to engage in short-term programs of 8 to 12 weeks by creating a new “Short-Term Workforce Pell Grant”. Many adults who obtained undergraduate degrees over 10 years ago may need new training to re-enter the workforce in today’s technology-based workplace, where there are many jobs to be attained. Under the proposal, if students are financially eligible for such awards, a previous degree would not prevent eligibility. In addition, individuals who have not completed high school can receive a Short-Term Workforce Pell Grant to attend an eligible program to prepare them to enter the workforce.
Connecting Apprenticeships to Academic Degrees:
The act calls upon the Secretaries of Education and Labor to develop comprehensive articulation agreements that enable students to achieve academic credit for apprenticeship programs as the first step in their career ladder.
Enhancing Transfer of Credit:
Recognizing the continuing problems of student credit transfer, this proposal makes an important first step by mandating that identical academic programs of the same level, if approved by the same accreditor shall be automatically transferable between institutions unless schools request an additional assessment to prove competency. The Secretary is required to monitor such implementation and provide a report on the acceptance/rejection of credit transfers and the specific reasons stated by the school rejecting such transfers.
Students, like veterans returning to school, may be eligible to enroll in Competency-Based Education programs approved by an institution’s accreditor, with now-enshrined eligibility for Title IV assistance.
To view a full section-by-section summary of the bill, click here.
About Career Education Colleges & Universities
The Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) is a voluntary membership organization of accredited, postsecondary schools, institutes, colleges and universities that provide career-specific educational programs. CECU has about 500 member campuses that educate and support millions of students for employment in over 200 occupational fields. CECU member institutions provide the full range of higher education programs, including masters and doctorate degrees, two- and four-year associate and baccalaureate degree programs, and short-term certificate and diploma programs.
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