Expanding career training options for students and closing the skills gap for employers.
- The United States is in the midst of a profound workforce skills gap—about 7 million jobs remain unfilled today. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, in 2018 alone, the U.S. workforce required at least 4.7 million new workers with postsecondary certificates.
- Too many students lack experiences that allow for career exploration, adult mentorship, and sound advice on postsecondary options that match their career interests and prepare them for jobs that will close the skills gap.
- The Education Freedom Scholarships (EFS) proposal creates a $5 billion annual federal tax credit for voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs, empowering students to pursue their career goals.
- State leaders can take a bold step toward the creation of an enhanced talent development pipeline by aligning state-based scholarship programs to the vision and strategies in state workforce development plans, including their Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plans.
How EFS Can Expand Career Training Options
- States can design their programs to provide more students with access to authentic career-based experiences that their family’s zoned school might not offer.
- The scholarships can be targeted to students interested in:
- Concurrent or dual enrollment in high-demand career pathways, or to help ease a student’s transition from secondary to postsecondary institutions;
- Apprenticeship pathways, including pre-apprenticeships, industry-recognized apprenticeships, and registered apprenticeships; and
- Industry certifications.
- The scholarships can cover allowable education expenses including, but not limited to:
- Tuition for dual or joint enrollment courses online or in-person at local community colleges or short-term job training programs like a coding boot camp or accelerated training program;
- Books and fees required by a technical program or community college of choice;
- Industry-based exams and certification fees necessary for an in-demand occupation;
- Transportation to an apprenticeship training center or worksite, magnet school, career and technical education academy, or public or private school of a family’s choice; and
- Tools, supplies, and personal protective equipment required for in-person or online career and technical education programs such as steel-toed boots, welding gloves, a computer, or scrubs.