As Congress develops the next COVID relief bill and considers crucial investments in higher education and workforce development, Aspen’s Josh Wyner urges legislators to shift attention from Pell funding for short-term training programs to initiatives with clear evidence of impact.
As it considers another COVID relief package, Congress should provide additional financial support to unemployed and underemployed workers seeking new skills. Research on the 2008 recession makes clear why that matters: 95 percent of the jobs created in the wake of that recession required a college education. In both good and bad economic times, the likelihood of securing a fulfilling career with good wages and work conditions increases with a college credential.
But not every college credential leads to a job with decent wages. So, as Congress considers how to support the development of new skills that our workforce needs, it should pay attention to the evidence that indicates which investments are most likely to set people up for success; not just during the recession but after it ends.