The Build Back Better Act Is Critical to Workforce Development and College Success

The House Education and Labor Committee’s proposed bill recognizes the need for robust investment in our nation’s workforce system as well as significant resources for college access and success. JFF urges Congress to advance this legislation for a strong national recovery.

Published sep. 09, 2021

Today, the House Education and Labor Committee is considering its provisions for the Build Back Better Act, a package that would provide critical education and workforce development investments for our nation’s students, workers, and families. JFF supports the proposals outlined in the House Committee bill and urges Congress to quickly advance this important legislation.

Affordability and access, coupled with student success initiatives, align with JFF’s long-time belief that access to higher education alone is not enough. Today’s students also need comprehensive support— such as robust advising, emergency aid assistance, and accelerated learning opportunities—to assist them along their postsecondary pathway.

The Committee bill proposes significant changes and investments in both higher education access and supports for completion. This includes increasing Pell grants, two years of tuition-free community college for eligible students, and new $9 billion retention and completion grants to states and colleges to support student success and completion.

The Committee’s Build Back Better Act also includes a nearly $80 billion investment in workforce development, including $40 billion in funding for the nation’s workforce system, which would support the direct delivery of skills training, career navigation and support services for adults and youth experiencing barriers to education and employment. The proposal also includes funding for community college and workforce partnership grants to ensure that students have access to industry-aligned postsecondary education and training options.

Since the start of the pandemic, the nation’s workforce development system has received minimal resources to respond to the critical reemployment needs of impacted workers. With Unemployment Insurance expansion ending and an infrastructure bill on the horizon, workforce development is more critical than ever to ensure that individuals who have lost jobs during COVID have access to skills development and comprehensive career navigation services to prepare for in-demand careers.

JFF applauds the House Education and Labor Committee on this important legislation that invests in our nation’s families, businesses, and communities in recovery.

We urge the House and Senate to work together to maintain these investments in the final legislation and quickly send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.