February 27, 2023

Tell Congress To Make Pell Grants Available To Working Adults

Currently, eligibility for the federal Pell Grant program is limited to education and training programs that are at least 600 clock hours (or two-thirds of a typical academic year) and 15 weeks in length. As such, this requirement excludes many non-degree credentials in high-demand industries, including in the industrial metals sector, and creates a financial barrier to reskilling and upskilling for many students and current workers.

To help more employees attain the skills they need to be ready to fill in-demand jobs, federal lawmakers must approve The JOBS Act, a bipartisan bill that would expand the Pell Grant program to support enrollment in high quality short-term programs that lead to employment.

The bill creates meaningful on-ramps for individuals who might otherwise never pursue postsecondary credentials by requiring that short-term programs be eligible for a Pell Grant if they:

  • Are at least 150 clock hours over eight weeks of instruction;
  • Provide training aligned with requirements of employers in a state or local area and awards programs with a recognized postsecondary credential;
  • Provide academic content that will meet hiring requirements of potential employers and satisfy applicable prerequisites for professional licensure or certification;
  • Have an accrediting agency evaluate the programs for quality and student outcomes;
  • Are offered by an eligible training provider, as defined in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The National Skills Coalition has asked employers and individuals interested in this issue to send a pre-written letter to their senators and members of Congress asking that Pell Grant expansion be added to must-pass end of the year spending legislation. Click here to make your voice heard.

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