Washington, D.C. — The following is a statement from Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of National Skills Coalition, in response to President Biden’s American Families Plan:
The American Families Plan is a huge step forward for working families. It expands opportunities and direct support for families who were most impacted by the recession – especially women, people of color, and workers without a college degree.
The plan makes childcare more affordable for working families. It makes unemployment insurance dynamic and more responsive to the changing economy – including automatically increasing the length and amount of benefits for families as the economy worsens. It ensures that people’s basic needs are met through support services like childcare and income support – including SNAP extensions for people trying to re-enter the workforce.
So many leaders in our Industry Recovery Panels lifted up the importance of these kinds of non-tuition supports – which are just as important as the training itself. The supports outlined in the American Families Plan are crucial to ensuring workers succeed in training programs and the millions of infrastructure jobs that will be created by the American Jobs Plan.
The American Families plan rightly recognizes the important role that community colleges play in helping to build an inclusive economic recovery. The $109 billion investment in free community college for students and workers, including DREAMers, is encouraging. The key is to ensure that this new two years-beyond-high school guarantee is truly accessible to all workers, including those taking single courses or other programs directly connected to local industry and career pathways.
Similarly, investing $80 billion to expand Pell grants is a positive step. But we must go even further by expanding Pell to high-quality, short-term training programs – consistent with the bipartisan JOBS Act.
National Skills Coalition looks forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress to ensure that the American Families plan is truly inclusive of all students and workers and helps transform how people access college and training.