Reps. Sewell and DelBene Introduce Legislation Establishing Worker Access to Lifelong Learning and Training
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA) introduced the Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act. This bill would create a tax-preferred savings account with a generous government match to assist low and moderate-income workers seeking to retrain or upskill over the course of their careers. This legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).
Studies show that in the years ahead, more workers will be forced to learn new skills throughout their careers. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2020, more than one-third of the core skill sets of most jobs will be skills that are not considered crucial to today’s workforce. The Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act would give workers a portable, government-matched savings vehicle for lifelong learning so they can continue to work and provide for their families.
“If we want to grow our economy and create better jobs for American families, we have to invest in our nation’s number one asset – our workforce,” said Rep. Sewell. “That means providing our workers with opportunities to learn new skills and transition into competitive jobs in a changing economy. The Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act gives working families the tools they need to save for retraining and continuing education over the course of their careers. For workers in Alabama’s 7th District and across the country, today’s bill represents a step forward in our fight for better jobs, better pay, and a better future for our families.”
“As our economy continues to change, workers must have access to the opportunities of tomorrow,” said Rep. DelBene. “Right now, many hardworking Americans don’t have the skillsets to transition into a new job. This legislation will give those folks the tools to retrain and learn new skills so they can keep up with advances in technology and earn a good-paying job. Investing in these workers and helping them further their educations will yield benefits that help middle-class families thrive.”
“By 2030, up to one-third of American workers will need to retrain or change jobs to keep up with disruptions due to automation and a changing economy. That means lifelong learning will be the new normal for millions of Americans,” said Sen. Warner. “The Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act represents the first major investment towards helping workers pay for the education and training necessary to modernize their skills, and I’m pleased that this important legislation is moving forward in the House of Representatives.”
The Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act creates employee-owned Lifelong Learning and Training Account (LLTA) savings plans. Contributions to an LLTA by low-to-moderate income workers or their employers are eligible for a dollar-for-dollar federal match of up to $1,000. The federal matching funds are directly deposited into the LLTA immediately after the contribution by the worker or employer. The worker then gets to choose how to use the LLTA funds, which can be applied towards any training that leads to a recognized post-secondary credential.
The full text of the bill can be read here.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.