Robert Menendez

US Senator for New Jersey
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Menendez Bill Would Link Community Colleges with Businesses to Train Workers for Jobs of the Future

Proposal would make good on part of President’s plan to give middle class a better deal

August 1, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Robert Menendez introduced the Better Education and Skills Training, or BEST, for America’s Workforce Act which would create a competitive tax-credit program to encourage job training partnerships between local colleges and local businesses and tax credits for businesses that train long-term unemployed workers.  Earlier this week, President Obama unveiled a jobs plan which includes investing in our nation’s community colleges and preparing workers to compete in a competitive marketplace.

“I absolutely agree with President Obama that we must do all we can to make sure that middle class Americans have the training and skills they need to compete and win in a global economy,” said Sen. Menendez.  “That’s why I introduced this bill which will link our community colleges with local businesses so that workers can move right from education to employment.” 

The BEST for America’s Workforce Act includes: 

Competitive Tax-Credit Program for Job Training Partnerships:

This proposal will provide $1 billion in funding for a competitive tax credit to encourage partnerships between businesses and colleges. Because the application is competitive, priority will be given to those partnerships that demonstrate:

  • The greatest probability of those who complete the program securing employment;
  • The greatest potential for providing workers who complete the program with skills that can provide long-term job and income security;
  • The strongest market demand for the type of training offered;
  • The greatest probability that the program would create a net increase in job training opportunities;
  • A strong need in the community for skills training;
  • The ability to allow nontraditional learners to complete the training;
  • The ability and capacity to implement the program in a reasonable period of time;

Additional consideration should be given for those applications that show:

  • The ability to leverage additional sources of capital; AND
  • The greatest ability to offer training programs that result in certificates or credentials that are stackable and/or portable.

Firms with fewer than 500 employees, or manufacturers of any size, will be eligible to compete for tax credits.

Tax Credit for Businesses Who Train Long-Term Unemployed:

Of the 11.8 million unemployed Americans, more than one-third have been out of work for 6 months or longer.  Chairman Bernanke has called long-term unemployment a national crisis, saying “this is unheard of, they are losing the skills they had, they are losing their connections to the labor force.”

This proposal would provide a tax credit of up to $4,000 for the tuition costs at a community college to any business that is willing to train a long-term unemployed worker for an open job that requires a certain type of certificate or other training credential. The business would have to be based in the U.S. and the training would have to be in coordination with an institution of higher learning. Many employers have jobs to fill, so encouraging them to retrain the long-term unemployed will help fill a void for both the business and the individual.

When packaged together, these proposals will address the needs of businesses for skilled workers, the needs of individuals to get back into the workforce, and the needs of colleges to fund these important training programs.

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