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Kaine & Young Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Boost Student Success and Career Readiness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, and Senator Todd Young (R-IN), also co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, reintroduced the bipartisan Assisting Community Colleges in Educating Skilled Students (ACCESS) to Careers Act. The bill would boost student success and career readiness by increasing work-based learning opportunities and apprenticeships, ensuring students have access to support services like career navigators and counselors, and creating career pathways to meet the changing skill demands of the U.S. economy.

“The needs of our economy are often changing, and Virginians should have easier access to the training and education they need to adapt and get good-paying, in-demand jobs,” said Kaine. “The ACCESS to Careers Act would help provide students with those opportunities, boost Virginia’s economy, and help employers hire high-skilled workers.”

“From life sciences to semiconductors to pharma to ag, many exciting things are made in Indiana by Hoosier workers,” said Young. “We need to support the ingenuity and talent of our Hoosier workforce by increasing work-based learning opportunities and apprenticeships. Our bipartisan bill will help provide greater access to the training and education needed in our modern economy.”

Specifically, the ACCESS to Careers Act would authorize the Secretary of Education to provide: 

  • Grants to states to develop strategies such as dual enrollment, apprenticeship, and accelerated training programs to support student success and workforce preparedness. These grants would also support partnerships between local community colleges, employers, and workforce entities to implement these strategies and create pathways to in-demand industries.
  • Grants to Community Colleges and Consortia of Community Colleges to increase the number of students who attain postsecondary credentials in high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand industries and develop and improve strategies to support student success. The funding could be used to support paid internships and apprenticeships, establish processes for awarding course credits for prior college-level learning and skills gained outside of the classroom, dual or concurrent enrollment, and more.

Kaine and Young have long led efforts to expand access to job-training. Kaine introduced the JOBS Act, bipartisan legislation to help more Americans get good-paying jobs by allowing students to use federal Pell Grants to afford high-quality, shorter-term job training programs for the first time. Kaine and Young introduced the Data for American Jobs Act to ensure that federal education data and research incorporates job training to help improve states’ career readiness programs, meet the needs of the economy, and expand the skilled workforce.

The legislation is endorsed by American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), Higher Learning Advocates, Jobs for the Future (JFF), and the National Skills Coalition (NSC).

Full text of the bill is available here.