U.S. Senator Robert Menendez introduced legislation to expand opportunities for American workers to get the retraining they need for available high-skilled jobs. The Better Education and Skills Training, or BEST for America’s Workforce Act, includes a competitive tax-credit program to encourage job training partnerships between local colleges and local businesses and tax credits for businesses that train long-term unemployed workers.
“Everyone agrees that we need to get America back to work, and my legislation is putting those words into action,” said Senator Menendez. “Workers need training to learn the skills businesses need, and businesses need skilled workers in order to innovate, compete and thrive. This is one of those times when the problem is clear and the solution is right in front of us. These training partnerships between community colleges and business are essential in ensuring that workers are prepared for high-skilled jobs, so we can get people back to work and businesses back to growing.”
“AACC has long advocated for federal policies that help businesses and community colleges work together to provide the nation’s workforce with the skills and education it needs for the 21st century,” said Walter G. Bumphus, President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges. “By providing tax credits for industry-trainer partnerships, this legislation will help to incent direct business involvement in the formation of exemplary workforce development programs. This involvement is a vital ingredient to such programs’ success. I also applaud the bill’s tax credit for providing training to long-term unemployed individuals, as they are often the most in need of education and training to find their way back to productive employment.”
Even as countries around the world invest more and more into their workforces, America has pulled back. This is in spite of the fact that studies show the economy will need millions more skilled workers than are currently being trained in the coming decades.
Earlier this year, Senator Menendez unveiled his proposals during visits to Bergen County Community College and Camden County Community College in which he highlighted the partnerships that are already connecting workers with jobs in demand. In Bergen County, Menendez touted the work of Crestron, a company that offers positions to students of BCCC after they complete a training program geared towards their work. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals of Eatontown, and U.S. Vision with a laboratory in Blackwood, have likewise successfully partnered with CCC to train workers for jobs at their companies.
Senator Menendez’s legislation includes:
Competitive Tax-Credit Program for Job Training Partnerships:
This proposal will provide $1 billion in funding for a competitive tax credit to encourage partnerships between businesses and colleges. Because the application is competitive, priority will be given to those partnerships that demonstrate:
• The greatest probability of those who complete the program securing employment;
• The greatest potential for providing workers who complete the program with skills that can provide long-term job and income security;
• The strongest market demand for the type of training offered;
• The greatest probability that the program would create a net increase in job training opportunities;
• A strong need in the community for skills training;
• The ability to allow nontraditional learners to complete the training;
• The ability and capacity to implement the program in a reasonable period of time;
Additional consideration should be given for those applications that show:
• The ability to leverage additional sources of capital; AND
• The greatest ability to offer training programs that result in certificates or credentials that are stackable and/or portable.
Firms with fewer than 500 employees, or manufacturers of any size, will be eligible to compete for tax credits.
Tax Credit for Businesses Who Train Long-Term Unemployed:
Of the 13 million unemployed Americans, nearly one-third have been out of work for one year or longer. Chairman Bernanke has called long-term unemployment a national crisis, saying “this is unheard of, they are losing the skills they had, they are losing their connections to the labor force.”
• This proposal would provide a tax credit of up to $4,000 for the tuition costs at a community college to any business that is willing to train a long-term unemployed worker for an open job that requires a certain type of certificate or other training credential. The business would have to be based in the U.S. and the training would have to be in coordination with an institution of higher learning. Many employers have jobs to fill, so encouraging them to retrain the long-term unemployed will help fill a void for both the business and the individual.
When packaged together, these proposals will address the needs of businesses for skilled workers, the needs of individuals to get back into the workforce, and the needs of colleges to fund these important training programs.
View the original article at The Paramus Post.