WASHINGTON — Today, the Biden Administration announced the American Jobs Plan, which includes significant investments in workforce training, broadband, and community college infrastructure. Executive Director Julie Peller made the following statement regarding the plan:
“Higher Learning Advocates commends the Biden Administration for its proposed investments in areas that are critical to today’s students’ success, such as broadband access, job training programs, and community colleges.
Today’s students have struggled throughout the pandemic to access reliable broadband internet so they could succeed in higher education. The American Jobs Plan focuses on 100 percent broadband coverage for all Americans through a $100 billion investment, which should ensure that all of todays’ students also have access to reliable, high-speed broadband, as long as students count as “households.” We appreciate the administration’s focus on college students’ broadband access and look forward to working in partnership to further support today’s students, both through the short-term emergency situation and through longer-term solutions for affordable and reliable internet access.
Now more than ever, we must ensure that students have access to education and training programs that lead directly into the workforce or further education. We are pleased to see the American Jobs Plan’s proposed $48 billion investment in workforce training programs, which would provide support for career pathway programs, including partnerships with community colleges and employers. It also emphasizes widening the pipeline to these programs to allow more women and people of color access to career opportunities. However, it remains imperative that our workforce and higher education systems become more integrated, rather than further siloed. This investment should work to create connections between the two systems to ensure that learners can access job training programs and also have the option of applying such training to further education. In addition, expanding Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term programs would allow more students to take advantage of training programs that lead to high-wage, in-demand jobs.
Finally, Higher Learning Advocates applauds the administration’s investment in community colleges, an essential part of our higher learning system that often educate more diverse student bodies, including higher percentages of lower-income students and students of color. The proposed $12 billion investment in community college infrastructure, including facilities and technology, will benefit students who have long been underserved by higher education, and will also allow states to focus on addressing access to community college in education deserts.
Higher Learning Advocates thanks the Biden Administration for prioritizing the needs of today’s students in this proposal. We look forward to supporting the administration’s efforts moving forward.”
Higher Learning Advocates is a bipartisan non-profit organization that advocates for solutions to break down systemic barriers and support the success of today’s students in their pursuit of education and skills development beyond high school. We advance federal policies that create transparent pathways to success, incentivize innovation, protect students and taxpayers, and improve student outcomes.