New Skills for New Jobs Act
At a time when thousands of Michigan residents are looking for work, we also have businesses struggling to find new workers to fill good-paying jobs in high-growth industries like advanced manufacturing, construction, finance, and health care. In manufacturing alone, there are expected to be roughly 3.5 million new jobs in the decade to come – and yet due to the skills gap, roughly two million of those jobs will not be filled, because employers can’t find workers with the right skills.
This skills gap is making it harder for middle-class families to have an opportunity to get ahead and hurts our country’s overall economic competitiveness. Other countries are investing heavily to be leaders in these fast-growing sectors, making it even more urgent that workers are able to connect with the training necessary to work at new jobs in these fields. Senator Debbie Stabenow believes Michigan and the rest of the United States needs to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.
Senator Stabenow’s New Skills for New Jobs Act builds on successful efforts in Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and North Dakota to help community colleges partner with local businesses to provide training for new jobs. These efforts have a proven track record of success: in Michigan, 111 local partnerships have been established to train nearly 14,000 workers for these high-skill jobs.
Here’s how the Michigan New Jobs Training Program works: an employer chooses whom they want to hire for a new job and then partners with the community college to provide the necessary training. The college takes on the upfront cost of the training and then captures the state income tax withholding for the new employees until the cost is fully recouped. Only good paying new jobs qualify.
Training More Workers with the Right Skills
The New Skills for New Jobs Act would provide a federal match to increase the number of workers and businesses that can participate in the Michigan New Jobs Training Program. Under the legislation, the federal government will provide reimbursement to the community college every quarter. By matching the state contribution generated from the new worker’s income tax payments, the federal initiative will repay the community college more quickly and dramatically increase the number of eligible companies and workers that can participate.
Supporting Small Businesses
Created as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the Small Business Access to Capital Act (SSBCI) has promoted billions of dollars in private sector small business lending. To continue this highly successfully program, Senator Stabenow introduced the Small Business Access to Capital Act to which will reauthorize and improve SSBCI to help small businesses grow and create jobs.
The Small Business Access to Capital Act builds on the initial program's success by providing an additional $500 million in formula funds to all states based on the 2010 law. Michigan would receive over $26 million in new formula funding - more than every state except Florida and California. The bill will also create a new, competitive $1 billion pool of funding for states that have already capitalized on funding from the 2010 program.
Equipping Students with Tools for Success
Senator Stabenow is making sure that students who work hard to get into college can enroll regardless of their financial circumstances. The Early Pell Promise Act will dedicate two years of Pell Grants to qualifying middle school students. That funding will be available upon graduation to pay for tuition at a college or university. This bill will give students and their families the opportunity and information they need to earn a college degree.
This legislation is inspired by the Kalamazoo Promise, created in 2005, which provides hope and inspiration to students who have attended Kalamazoo Public Schools by paying for their college tuition at any of Michigan's state colleges or universities. Senator Stabenow’s Early Pell Promise Act was also inspired by Vice President Biden’s Early Federal Pell Grant Commitment Demonstration Act, which was authorized in the Higher Education Opportunity Act in 2008.
Numerous studies, including one conducted by the Institute For College Access and Success, show that the earlier students are given information about financial aid options and benefits of post-secondary education, the more likely they are to finish high school and go to college. This bill would provide college financial aid information to students and their families in 8th grade based on enrollment in the National School Lunch Program. The bill also provides a commitment to these students that if they work hard and graduate they will receive the maximum Pell grant award for their first two years of college.