Sewell introduces legislation establishing worker access to lifelong training

Published 12:31 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018

On Monday, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, and Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-WA, introduced the Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act. This bill would create a tax-referred savings account with a government match to assist low and moderate-income workers seeking to retrain or upskill over the course of their careers. This legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA.

Studies show that in the years ahead, more workers will be forced to learn new skills throughout their careers. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2020, more than one-third of the core skill sets of most jobs will be skills that are not considered crucial to today’s workforce. The Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act would give workers a portable, government-matched savings vehicle for lifelong learning so they can continue to work and provide for their families.

“If we want to grow our economy and create better jobs for American families, we have to invest in our nation’s number one asset – our workforce,” said Sewell. “That means providing our workers with opportunities to learn new skills and transition into competitive jobs in a changing economy. The Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act gives working families the tools they need to save for retraining and continuing education over the course of their careers. For workers in Alabama’s 7th District and across the country, today’s bill represents a step forward in our fight for better jobs, better pay, and a better future for our families.”

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The Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act creates employee-owned Lifelong Learning and Training Account (LLTA) savings plans. Contributions to an LLTA by low-to-moderate income workers or their employers are eligible for a dollar-for-dollar federal match of up to $1,000. The federal matching funds are directly deposited into the LLTA immediately after the contribution by the worker or employer. The worker then gets to choose how to use the LLTA funds, which can be applied towards any training that leads to a recognized post-secondary credential.