Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Lucy McBath has introduced legislation to support American workers, provide them with educational opportunities, and prepare them for success in their careers. The Training Retention and Investment Now for a Better America (TRAIN for a Better America) ActH.R.7385, expands an important program in the Department of Labor (DOL) that provides funding to community colleges for partnerships with local employers. The bill is part of the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 (WIOA) (H.R.7309) and is co-sponsored by Rep. Jahana Hayes, Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, and Rep. Mark Takano.

“As our country continues to emerge from one of the worst economic crises in decades, we must continue our efforts to prepare hard-working Americans with the skills and tools they need to succeed, and to help our nation create a workforce that will continue to grow and compete long into the future,” said McBath. “Community colleges and technical schools are vital components of a strong workforce pipeline, and are often one of the few options available to low-income and non-traditional learners hoping to better themselves and their families through hard work and education. I am very proud that my bill is included in the Workforce Innovation reauthorization package as we continue to connect recent community college and technical school graduates with employers. The TRAIN for a Better America Act is an important step in developing career training and pathways, assisting Americans with barriers to employment, and providing support services as they build their futures.”

“Workforce training programs are a vital pipeline to good-paying careers in in-demand fields,” said Thompson. “I am proud to introduce the TRAIN for a Better America Act alongside my colleagues to authorize a competitive grant program so that schools like the Santa Rosa Junior College receive the funding they need to train workers for careers in good-paying occupations. This legislation will provide economic opportunity for more Californians, and I look forward to ensuring that workforce training programs receive the funding they deserve to set up a bright future for all who pursue these careers.”

“Our vision for a better and more equitable future starts with making real investments in people and opportunities and building bridges between our communities and resources,” said Bowman. “With the TRAIN for a Better America Act introduced by Congresswoman McBath, we are connecting workers in our neighborhoods to transformative educational opportunities and preparing them for success in their careers. Solving our nation’s most pressing issues will take deep collaboration and intentional policy making that recognizes the untapped potential in our communities and the importance of establishing and supporting local partnerships that uplift workers, students, and families. As a lifelong educator, I've seen just how impactful our schools can be when they serve as holistic centers of growth and development for students, families, and the community at large. This legislation is a critical step forward as we seek to bring investments and resources to those who need it most.”

Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Department of Labor has begun awarding Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants to expand online and technology-enhanced learning in industries such as healthcare, logistics, and cybersecurity. In January 2021, DOL awarded $40 million in grants to 11 community colleges, including seven consortium grants and four single institution grants in 10 states. 

The TRAIN for a Better America codifies into law and expands the Department of Labor’s Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants, authorizing a competitive grant program that aims to build community colleges’ capacity to provide employment and training programs leading to post-secondary credentials for in-demand industries or occupations. Community college grantees, in partnership with employers and the workforce development system, must develop employment and training programs targeting specific industry sectors.