Lawmakers propose savings accounts for employee learning
- Lawmakers have introduced a bill aimed at encouraging lifelong worker learning. The Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act, proposed by Terri Sewell, D-A.L., and Suzan DelBene, D-W.A., would give workers access to tax-preferred savings accounts for education. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Mark Warner (D-VA).
- The employee savings account would include a monetary government match to help low and moderate income workers who hope to retrain or increase their skills at any time over the course of their careers, according to a press release from Sewell's office.
- The employee-owned and potable savings plans also would allow employees or businesses to contribute to an employee account with the government matching their savings up to $1,000. Workers could apply their savings to training that leads to a recognized post-secondary credential.
While the bill's changes of passing aren't clear, it's worth noting that the federal government has made employee training a priority in recent years. A recent Trump Administration initiative, Pledge to America's Workers, promises to create 6 million training opportunities for job holders and seekers. The collaboration to date includes 20 companies and associations who signed on, agreeing to create about 4 million training opportunities in the next five years.
Government and business must work together to bridge the skills and talent gaps, according to one study, and many are already doing so. The U.S. Department of Labor has encourage apprenticeships, even in areas where they were previously rare, such as the food industry.
These federal initiatives come alongside the White House's demand that businesses prioritize hiring American workers, and DOL's announced crackdown on businesses that hire visa holders over U.S. workers.
- Congresswoman Terri Sewell Reps. Sewell and DelBene Introduce Legislation Establishing Worker Access to Lifelong Learning and Training