Some of the most innovative and effective career education available today is at community colleges, and programs are often shorter than a semester – just long enough to learn the skills needed to get a job or a better job. Yet under current law, students enrolled in short programs are ineligible for Pell Grants.

In March 2021, a bipartisan group of lawmakers – 31 Senate cosponsors and eight in the House – reintroduced the Jumpstart our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act. The bill would amend the Higher Education Act to make short, job-focused postsecondary programs – at least 150 hours and eight weeks in length – eligible for federal Pell Grant funding.

2021 LEGISLATION

JOBS Act
Press release
JOBS Act FAQ

RESOURCES

Inside Higher Ed Letter urges Congress not to forget job-focused education 9-20-21
US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences The effects of expanding Pell Grant eligibility for short occupational training programs 12-11-20
Inside Higher Ed Analysis of US experiment on short-term Pell 12-16-20

Rebuilding America’s Middle Class Supporting workforce Pell Grants 3-18-21
American Association of Community Colleges Community College Daily Students cover most noncredit workforce education costs 1-13-21
American Association of Community Colleges Community College Daily  Consensus’ on Pell for short-term programs? 3-17-21

OPPORTUNITY AMERICA

Community college presidents letter about free community college 9-8-21
Jobs and Careers Coalition letter of support for Kaine infrastructure amendment 8-5-21
Jobs and Careers Coalition letter of support for the Student Aid Improvement Act 10-9-19
Jobs and Careers Coalition letter of support for the JOBS Act 8-2-19
Jobs and Careers Coalition letter of support for the JOBS Act 4-25-19

Report An unknown landscape: Short-term job-focused college programs June 2019
Capitol Hill briefing An unknown landscape: Short-term job-focused college programs 7-30-19
Spotlight on Poverty Q&A The untapped potential of community college career education 8-7-19

Higher education and workforce organizations endorse JOBS Act 3-18-21
JOBS Act coalition of the willing letter on JOBS Act and Pell Flexibility Act 4-2-19