WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced he is examining federal support for post-high school education, skills training, apprenticeship and other workforce development programs.
“Everywhere I go in Michigan, I hear from workers, business owners, and students about how we need to expand access to affordable post-high school education and skills training programs that connect Michiganders with good-paying jobs,” said Senator Peters. “In today’s dynamic economy, apprentices and technical education students deserve our government’s strongest possible efforts to provide access and support for the training and skills that will open doors to higher pay and better jobs. I hope that by examining our government’s current efforts and asking hard questions about what needs to change, I will be able to help expand access to skills training and workforce development programs that give Michigan workers and businesses the skills needed to compete and succeed.”
Peters will assess federal support for students at colleges and technical training programs, including access to federal resources across socioeconomic backgrounds. He will also consider how tax incentives and other benefits impact post-high school education and training opportunities and whether changes are needed to ensure we are making smart investments to help people in Michigan and across the country to meet the growing demand for workers with skills training.
Currently, the federal government supports post-high school education and skills training through direct financial assistance to students as well as tax preferences and funding to states, institutions, and training programs. According to the Department of Education, in fiscal year 2018, the department provided approximately $122 billion in direct financial assistance to students pursuing post-high school education. During that same time period, the federal government provided less than $11 billion in funding to states to support career and technical education and workforce development. Peters will examine Department of Education, Department of Labor, and other federal sources and authorities to determine whether there is need for additional federal support for students pursuing studies through technical schools, apprenticeships, and other skills training programs.
Peters has long supported efforts to increase access to affordable post-high school education. In 2018, Peters authored bipartisan provisions that were signed into law to expand opportunities for students in career and technical education by increasing training and awareness of post-high school education opportunities outside of the traditional four-year college degree for high school counselors. Last year, the Senate also unanimously approved Peters’ bipartisan bill to expand apprenticeship opportunities for veterans. Last spring, Peters introduced bipartisan legislation to expand opportunities for high school students to obtain college credit at little to no out of pocket cost through programs that lead students to an early certification or Associate’s degree they can use toward their career pathway.