Workforce Development Efforts Begin to Take Shape

Employer Directed Skills Act Introduced

Last Friday, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) reintroduced the Employer Directed Skills Act. The bill, which is a high priority for ABMA and was a centerpiece of our Advocacy Day in March, would empower employers to determine the skills their workforce needs, streamline the process for workers to access skills development, and leverage private sector investments to make employers a stakeholder in the reskilling process.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  1. Allow employers to identify prospective workers to participate in a skills development program selected by the employer,
  2. Expand eligible programs to include work-based learning provided by the employer or an outside program from a third-party provider, and
  3. Provide partial reimbursements for the costs of upskilling programs through an Employer-Directed Skills Account.

ABMA’s Rita Ferris is featured in Rep. Stefanik’s press release, which may be found here.

Next Steps in Workforce Development  

ABMA will now focus its lobbying efforts on recruiting Democrats to cosponsor the bill. As mentioned before, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is up for reauthorization this year. The chances of including provisions of this bill into this larger reauthorization package improve exponentially if we can make this a bipartisan bill. We will also be looking to make this effort bicameral with the introduction of a Senate companion. As always, we will keep you apprised of our endeavors and enlist your support during our cosponsor outreach efforts. 

Reintroduction of the College Transparency Act

Also on the workforce front, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, reintroduced S. 1972, the College Transparency Act (CTA), legislation that would reform postsecondary data reporting to ensure students have better information on student success and outcomes as they compare higher education options and whether a traditional four-year degree even makes sense. This bill is a priority for Career and Technical Education (CTE) advocates and is endorsed by hundreds of organizations nationally. 

The legislation, which is bipartisan and bicameral, would ensure accurate reporting on student outcomes, which would include enrollment data, completion, and successes post-college. Additionally, it would provide a “user-friendly” website accessible to parents, students, policymakers, and employers. This data would allow Institutions and federal agencies to calculate student successes and best practices to calculate where improvement is needed.