Home Bill would enable students, workers to use 529 Savings Plans toward training, certification

Bill would enable students, workers to use 529 Savings Plans toward training, certification

The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would give students and workers the ability to use 529 Savings Plans to pay for workforce training, certification and credentialing program costs.

The legislation was reintroduced yesterday by U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Rob Wittman of Virginia to help more Virginia students and workers afford high-quality workforce training and credentialing programs.

“In Virginia, 529 savings accounts have long helped the next generation of our workforce afford a higher education. But right now, Virginia students can’t use these accounts to pay for the credentialing and licensing programs many of them need to succeed,” Spanberger said. “Especially as we see more specialized, cutting-edge industries grow in the Commonwealth, we need to fix this issue. Our bipartisan bill would give Virginia students and workers the ability to use their 529 accounts to cover tuition, books, and testing costs related to key training programs — and I’m once again proud to join my Virginia colleague Congressman Wittman in introducing this commonsense legislation.”

Middle-skill jobs, which are jobs that require more than a high school education but not a bachelor’s degree, are the largest component of America’s labor market, according to National Skills Coalition. Yet, key industries are unable to find adequately-trained workers to fill positions.

The bipartisan legislation would amend current law to allow students and workers to use their 529 Savings Plans toward programs recognized by a state government or the federal government, including colleges and vocational schools.

“Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are essential to the future development of our nation,” Wittman said. “We have a responsibility to prepare students for the demands of our workforce and economy, and we must do what we can to offer options for them to afford postsecondary education and career training. The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act will provide students in Virginia and across the nation with the opportunity to use their 529 plans to cover tuition, exam, training, and supply costs associated with obtaining postsecondary education workforce certifications. As we work to build our future workforce, this legislation will be instrumental in assisting students with securing in-demand, good-paying jobs. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this bill and ensure students have the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st-Century job market.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.