Strong public support for Workforce Pell


It’s not often the chair and ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee tout anything together, but on Thursday both were happy to share survey data that indicate strong public support for Workforce Pell.

“Overall, we see just ringing endorsement among everyday Americans for the idea of Workforce Pell generally, and for a good range of the specific quality requirements under active consideration in Congress, particularly for the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act (BWPA),” Keith Allred, executive director of the National Institute of Civil Discourse (NICD), said in a streamed event on Thursday to announce the survey findings.

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Both committee chair Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina) and ranking member Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) used the results to promote their Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act, which the committee passed in December.

“The recent survey data provided by the NICD is welcome news and shows the environment is ripe for transformative changes to skills-based learning,” committee chair Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina) said in a release.

In the same release, ranking member Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) followed: “The new polling data from the National Institute for Civil Discourse shows that Americans, no matter their political affiliation, overwhelmingly support expanding the Pell Grant to high-quality, short-term training programs.”

The American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of Community College Trustees this week asked House leaders to schedule a floor vote as soon as possible on BWPA, H.R. 6585. Advocates hope the House’s quick progress on the bill will restart efforts in the Senate.

According to the NICD survey of Americans:

  • 79% believe the kind of career-connected learning that would be supported through Workforce Pell gets too little support relative to college.
  • 87% believe performance outcomes are an appropriate measure of short-term program quality, with 64% supporting earnings requirements.
  • 71% think there should be no more than five administrative criteria to determine the effectiveness of a short-term program.
  • 65% oppose excluding for-profit institutions if there are administrative criteria and outcomes metrics in place, like the requirements in BWPA.
  • 64% of survey respondents oppose excluding online education programs.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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