Congressman Bobby Scott, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District recognizes, as others do, that there is an impending skilled labor shortage that will affect the entire workforce. Unfortunately, those who need to learn future-proof technical skills the most are also the most disadvantaged in access to that type of education. Pell grants are an excellent source of educational funding for the disadvantaged who would greatly benefit from Rep. Scott’s proposal. According to the think tank, Third Way:
“Around 75% of Pell dollars go to students whose family incomes are below $30,000, and 95% of recipients have family incomes below $60,000. In 2015, 53% of Pell recipients were considered financially independent, and more than half of these students had dependents themselves. And 45% of Pell recipients were over the age of 24. Pell students are also more likely to be students of color or first-generation, in addition to being low-income per the eligibility guidelines. Further, around 40% of Pell Grant recipients are veterans. The Pell Grant makes it possible for students in all stages of their lives to attend college with reduced reliance on hefty student loans.”
We agree with Rep. Scott on the need to address our skilled labor shortage with increased funding, and the Biden Administration’s Build-Back-Better (BBB) plan will increase funding for Pell grants. However, the BBB plan discriminates against students who are pursuing training and education that would prepare them for the very careers we need by taking away funding students need for these types of programs. If allowed to continue, Policymakers will be discriminating against disadvantaged students, especially Veterans, as well as exacerbating our skilled labor shortage.
We cannot let Student Veterans, who need education and training in their fields in order to excel in their careers, suffer because politicians in Washington have an alternative agenda.