House reconciliation bill would revive TAACCCT

U.S. Labor Department with Capitol. (Photo: Matthew Dembicki)

The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up legislation on Thursday that would revive a popular workforce development program in which community colleges play a key role.

The committee’s reconciliation bill would include $9.1 billion over seven years for the expired Trade Adjustment Assistance for Community Colleges and Career Training (TAACCCT) program. The committee this summer introduced a bill to reauthorize TAACCCT at the same funding level.

“The difference here is that, should this come to pass, it would actually provide the money and not just authorize it,” said Jim Hermes, associate vice president of government relations at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). “This would be part of the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, so it has got a ways to go.”

Related article: House ed committee releases reconciliation bill

The TAACCCT program was launched during the Obama administration to help unemployed and displaced workers affected by the recession. It distributed $2 billion over four years to 729 colleges and universities (including 630 community colleges) to work with employers and other stakeholders to train workers for in-demand jobs in their regions.

The bill also would make a few changes to the program. For example, it would require the U.S. Department of Labor to develop a plan to ensure that the program effectively serves populations from underserved communities. It also would ensure that a portion of grant funding can be used to support the needs of students taking courses at community colleges.

AACC and other community college advocates have encouraged Congress to revive TAACCCT, and, in general, the idea appears to have bipartisan support.

Making HPOG permanent

The wide-ranging House bill also would make permanent the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program, which is concluding after operating as a pilot program for nearly a decade. HPOG provides wraparound services for qualifying low-income individuals enrolled in training programs to help them attain an entry-level healthcare job on a career path.

The measure would appropriate $425 million annually for the program for fiscal years 2022-26. Nearly $319 million would go toward competitive grants.

This spring, a Ways and Means subcommittee examined the effectiveness of HPOG, with disagreement between Republicans and Democrats. A panel of experts said the program would be more effective if it was scaled up, though that would make it more expensive. They also said better connections with employers are needed in such programs, especially in rural areas.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.