As many as 4.4 million U.S. jobs are going unfilled due to shortages of workers with the right skills. Many of these opportunities are in so-called “middle-skill” occupations, such as IT or advanced manufacturing, where workers need some sort of post-secondary credential but not a four-year degree.
Expanding access to high-quality career education and training is one way to help close this “skills gap.” Under current law, however, many students pursuing short-term career programs are ineligible for federal financial aid that could help them afford their education. Pell grants, for instance, are geared primarily toward traditional college, which means older and displaced workers – for whom college is neither practicable nor desirable – lose out. Broadening the scope of the Pell grant program to shorter-term, high-quality career education would help more Americans afford the chance to upgrade their skills and grow the number of highly trained workers U.S. businesses need.
THE CHALLENGE: THE AMERICAN ECONOMY DESPERATELY NEEDS MORE SKILLED TALENT.