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Certification Coalition Presses Senate on Workforce Development Bills

BY: Alice P. Jacobsohn, Esq. | 05/12/21

The Professional Certification Coalition (PCC), of which APA is a participant, responded to a request by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) for input on policy ideas to promote workforce development. In particular, the PCC expressed support for two public policy proposals.

Credentialing, Education, Resources, and Training (CERT) Act

The CERT Act, prepared by the PCC, would create a federally funded career rebuilding scholarship fund, administered by approved worker training programs and private certification organizations. The funds would be distributed to eligible individuals who incur covered expenses by paying for a training program or certification exam fees. Under the proposed bill, workers displaced from their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic could receive scholarships capped at the lesser of 80% of expenses or $4,000 to cover or offset costs associated with enrollment in training programs or earning occupational credentials.

Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce (FITW) Act

The FITW Act (S. 905/H.R. 2171) would allow workers to use funds in §529 qualified tuition plans to cover costs associated with worker training and obtaining or maintaining postsecondary credentials, including professional certifications. Specifically, the legislation would amend the IRC to permit beneficiaries to use funds in §529 plans for expenses associated with obtaining and maintaining postsecondary credentials, including costs related to taking examinations and certification maintenance, such as practice exams, test preparation materials, exam fees, continuing education fees, and renewal dues.

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Alice P. Jacobsohn, Esq., is Director of Government Relations for the APA.