A new website to find schools is announced as more Americans look for work, consider job changes, or monitor a big infrastructure jobs bill.
The Biden administration is making changes at the US departments of Education and Labor aimed at finding new work for the unemployed.
The initiative comes as unemployment remains high due to the pandemic, a record number of people contemplate career changes, and federal lawmakers debate a bill that would create new jobs related to rebuilding and expanding the nation’s infrastructure.
A new website has been set up by the Department of Education (DOE) that lets people search for federally supported workforce training and education programs, and the DOE is updating its guidance for how financial aid administrators can help newly unemployed people get more financial aid. The US Department of Labor is also involved in the efforts to bolster job training by alerting state workforce agencies that unemployment insurance recipients are usually eligible for federal student aid.
“I am heartened that through these changes, the US departments of Education and Labor are helping unemployed Americans have the chance to go back to school, gain new knowledge and skills, and access opportunity through higher education,” said US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement. “These efforts will go a long way toward expanding the middle class, growing the economy, and helping individuals lead thriving lives and support their families, as our nation continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic.”
A DOE release on the initiatives points to a study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research that found eligible individuals who received information about their potential to receive federal Pell Grant student aid were 40% more likely to enroll in a postsecondary program.
If President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes Congress, it will likely add to an already-high demand for new workers—with estimates of 650,000 to 1 million new jobs being created in everything from roads and bridges to high-speed internet, clean water delivery, an updated power grid, and a larger network of charging stations for electric vehicles.