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Shaheen Helps Lead Reintroduction of Legislation to Increase Students’ Access to High-Skilled Job Opportunities

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) reintroduced legislation this week to make education more affordable for students pursuing degrees in high-skill industries. The Community College to Career Fund in Higher Education Act (CC2C) would support innovative partnerships between technical colleges, community colleges and businesses that train students for careers in high-demand fields. The bill would also help businesses fill vacant, good-paying positions with qualified candidates. 

This legislation builds off of successful public-private partnerships that train workers for jobs in high-skill industries like advanced manufacturing, health care, clean energy and information technology. Apprenticeship programs like this support the future of the American workforce by expanding access for students who historically have not had this access. 

“New Hampshire is facing a serious shortage of skilled workers in critical fields like health care and manufacturing at the same time as many Granite Staters are struggling to find good-paying jobs. Apprenticeship and job training programs that close the skills gap and expand our workforce are key to alleviating these workforce issues, which is exactly what this bill would help do,” said Shaheen. “This commonsense legislation would invest in our community colleges and empower students with necessary skill sets to compete globally in the 21st century economy, helping our businesses and economy thrive – a win-win. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this important legislation.” 

The Community College to Career Fund in Higher Education Act (CC2C) would help reduce education costs for students, fill jobs and increase America’s competitiveness in the global economy. The bill would create a competitive grant program to support more partnerships between two-year colleges and businesses. These partnerships would focus on valuable job training-related efforts, such as registered apprenticeships, on-the-job training opportunities and paid internships for low-income students that allow them simultaneously to earn credit for work-based learning in a high-skill field. The legislation is endorsed by the National Skills Coalition, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), Harper College, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Job Corps Association. 

Shaheen has been a fierce advocate for students, investing in quality education to prepare them for the 21st century economy and working to ensure they don’t fall behind during the pandemic. Shaheen has secured grants and funding to invest in the capability and capacity of schools to provide distance learning services to students. Earlier this year, Shaheen introduced the Supporting STEM Learning Opportunities Act, which would invest in experiential learning opportunities to strengthen the pipeline of students entering the STEM workforce, especially from traditionally underrepresented groups like women and communities of color. This legislation was included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act that passed the Senate in June. Shaheen also joined colleagues in reintroducing the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, bipartisan legislation that would help expand access to more job training programs for students and workers who need additional training, or a leg up in their career, by making high-quality, shorter-term education and training programs eligible for federal Pell Grants, which cleared the Senate as part of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that cleared the Senate last month. In February, she reintroduced her bill, the Emergency Support for STEM Act, to provide $200 million for emergency grants to support hands-on learning opportunities in STEM education during the pandemic -- including via remote learning and after-school activities. Shaheen also authored a bipartisan bill that was signed into law in 2019, the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act, which reaffirms American commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.