A new website to find schools is announced as more Americans look for work, consider job changes, or monitor a big infrastructure jobs bill.
The Biden Administration is updating two programs to help unemployed people trying to get education or workforce training.
The US Department of Labor has set up a new website to make it easier for people to find training and education programs that are supported by the federal government’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. In 2014, Congress passed the act with broad bipartisan support in hopes it would increase access, coordination, and performance throughout the country’s various workforce programs. Through the program, many people can continue to receive their unemployment benefits while attending school or training classes.
Approximately 435,000 Pennsylvanians are unemployed, according to the Department of Labor.
The department is also updating its guidance to financial aid administrators around the country on how they can use their professional judgment to adjust a recently unemployed applicants’ income to zero for the purposes of calculating the maximum amount of financial aid.
This will help more people be able to afford the training programs.
Pennsylvania has six core Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs. They help with people who are switching careers, or who have lost jobs that have moved, or other situations.
The programs are coordinated through 10 different regional plans that cover different parts of the state.
The US Department of Labor is also involved in the Biden Administration’s efforts to bolster job training by alerting state workforce agencies that many recipients of unemployment benefits are eligible for federal student aid.
“I am heartened that through these changes, the US Departments of Education and Labor are helping unemployed Americans have the chance to go back to school, gain new knowledge and skills, and access opportunity through higher education,” said US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These efforts will go a long way toward expanding the middle class, growing the economy, and helping individuals lead thriving lives and support their families, as our nation continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic.”
According to the Department of Education, the initiative points to a study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research that found eligible individuals who received information about their potential to receive federal Pell Grant student aid were 40% more likely to enroll in a postsecondary program.
If President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes Congress, it will likely add to an already-high demand for new workers—with estimates of 650,000 to 1 million new jobs being created in everything from roads and bridges to high-speed internet, clean water delivery, an updated power grid, and a larger network of charging stations for electric vehicles.