March 04, 2024

Kilmer Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Bolster Skills Training for American Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15), and Brad Schneider (IL-10) introduced the bipartisan Skills Investment Act to help workers access skills training. The Skills Investment Act would expand Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) – tax-advantaged savings accounts for educational expenses – so American workers can use the accounts to pay for skills training, apprenticeships, and professional development. U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Mike Braun (IN) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate. 

“In recent years – even before the pandemic – we’ve seen massive, disruptive economic change. It’s crucial that we don’t leave workers behind,” said Rep. Kilmer. “The Skills Investment Act is designed to equip American workers so they can navigate economic change rather than being victimized by it. The bipartisan bill offers workers the opportunity to use lifelong learning accounts to acquire essential skills so they can get new jobs and higher wages while also enabling employers to attract top talent. It’s a win-win and a step toward maintaining America’s competitive edge in the global economy of the 21st century.”

“Americans should not be penalized for seeking new skills and a better career,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan bill that will not only save workers money throughout their time in the workforce, but also train them to meet the demands of the evolving 21st century labor market.”

“I fully support expanding access to skills-based educational opportunities for learners of all ages, and this bill provides key incentives for individuals to invest in their futures,” said Rep. Thompson. “With more than 9 million job openings in the U.S. today, we must ensure job seekers are equipped with the skills necessary to fill in-demand jobs. As co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education Caucus, I am proud to support this legislation and provide additional resources for learners to climb the next run on the ladder of opportunity.”

“Too many Americans are struggling to find good-paying jobs to support their families while in-demand jobs go unfilled because employers can’t find the skilled workers they need,” said Rep. Schneider. “By expanding education savings accounts for skills training and career and technical education, the Skills Investment Act will give students and workers the opportunity to enhance their careers and help employers fill in-demand jobs. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to help Americans of all ages afford the training they need to put them on a path to success.”

“Now more than ever, innovation is key to moving the American economy forward,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “With technological advancements in advanced manufacturing and many other parts of our economy, it is critical that American workers are positioned for success. That means increasing access to the specialized training and education needed to pursue good-paying, high-demand careers. My bipartisan Skills Investment Act will expand tax advantaged savings accounts so workers can build skills for the 21st century economy.”

“You don’t need a four-year degree to land a great job and we need to make education savings accounts more flexible so they can also be used for trade schools and other skills training programs,” said Sen. Braun. “This commonsense and bipartisan bill is a win-win for students pursuing career and technical education and businesses looking to fill high-demand jobs.”

The Skills Investment Act introduces tax-advantaged savings accounts for lifelong skills training. It removes age limits on Coverdell education savings accounts and broadens qualifying educational expenses. Contributions are pretax, with $4,000 annual and $10,000 total limits for mid-career workers. Employers receive a 25% tax credit for contributing to an employee’s account.

The Skills Investment Act is endorsed by the Association for Career and Technical Education, Advance CTE, National Association of Workforce Boards, National Career Development Association, and National Skills Coalition.

“NCDA is so pleased to see bipartisan support for the Skills Investment Act,” said Deneen Pennington, Executive Director, National Career Development Association. “NCDA’s vision is for all citizens to achieve career and life goals and this Act will enable more access to additional educational and skill development. Through this Act, the livelihood of our nation’s workforce and the economic health and well-being of U.S. workers will be enhanced.”

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