Weekly Columns

The American Dream Accounts Act

f t # e
Washington, July 19, 2018 | Lani Short (202-225-6356) | comments

In today’s economy we are seeing an explosion of opportunity, a renewed sense of confidence in the future of our nation, and historic investments – both public and private – in creating safer and stronger communities. Not only are hardworking families seeing relief, businesses are growing so rapidly we have more job openings than workers. Achieving the American Dream is becoming easier, and while this is a fantastic problem to have, we must continue our efforts to support and build a strong middle class. It’s important that communities invest in and employ workers who are well-educated and prepared for a 21st Century workforce.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit with many employers and organizations around the First District, and I’ve seen first-hand the good-paying jobs they bring to our region. Unfortunately, a downside I’ve heard from many of these companies is that they are struggling to find qualified employees to take the jobs they’re offering. Developing our workforce is critical, and I am passionate about giving our younger generation the tools they need to succeed. That said, there are still barriers that can prevent low-income students from taking advantage of the opportunities provided to them.

As a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, one of my passions is ensuring our next generation has the tools they need to succeed, which is why this week I introduced H.R. 6441, the American Dream Accounts Act. This bipartisan legislation, which was introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the Senate, will help tackle certain barriers that particularly low-income students experience when considering a college education. It will encourage partnerships between schools, colleges, local non-profits and businesses to develop online accounts for students which contain information regarding financial literacy, college readiness and high-impact mentoring.

Studies show that low- and moderate-income students with a dedicated college savings account in their own name are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate than their peers with similar economic backgrounds who lack such accounts. In fact, among students who are expected to attend college, those with a college savings account in their name are six times more likely to actually attend college. The American Dream Accounts Act will enable students to have specific college savings accounts in their name using funds from the U.S. Department of Education.

Additionally, this week, the Trump administration released a comprehensive report addressing the importance of reskilling America’s workers for the jobs of the future. As changes are made in the nature of jobs in our economy, so must the education and skills in our employees. We must close the information gap and continue to keep up with the changing times. I’m proud the administration is addressing these changes and is making strides to equip our labor force.

It’s imperative that high school students are fully informed on the college application process and have the appropriate resources and relationships that will allow them to succeed as they transition into post-secondary education. By building bridges between students, families and teachers, this bill will encourage students to complete their education and fill our labor force with bright, ambitious employees. I am committed to helping future generations find a path forward to identify their career interests and learn about personal financial management for the success of their future.

I’m proud to sponsor this legislation and I thank Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) for leading the charge with me to ensure our workforce flourishes for generations to come.

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family.
f t # e
Tags: Education