The New Jersey Senate has passed a resolution sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21) urging the federal government to enact legislation that would permit students to use savings plans to cover the cost of apprenticeship programs.
The Senate has passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Tom Kean urging the federal government to enact legislation that would permit students to use 529 savings plans to cover the cost of apprenticeship programs. (SenateNJ.com)
According to the Employers Association of NJ, nearly 60 percent of their members reported that their primary recruiting obstacle is a lack of skilled applicants, necessitating the need for Sen. Kean’s legislative efforts to encourage more students to pursue apprenticeships.
“Professional apprenticeships open doorways for students who choose a skills-based career path, including on-the-job training, mentors, and nationally-recognized industry credentials. There’s a reason why the rate of job placement for those who seize these opportunities is exceptionally high,” Kean said. “Expanding 529 savings accounts to cover apprenticeship costs will encourage more young New Jerseyans to pursue skilled labor training, so they can get a great job and help us grow New Jersey’s innovation economy.”
Senator Kean’s bipartisan resolution, SJR-81, encourages the President and Congress to enact the “529 Opening Paths to Invest in Our Nation’s Students Act.”
The 529 OPTIONS Act would enable students enrolled in registered apprenticeship programs to utilize tax-free distributions from a 529 college savings plan for certain costs associated with enrollment in the program. About $300 billion has already been invested in the more than 13 million 529 accounts nationwide.
“Creating more opportunities for students to enroll in apprenticeship programs will help New Jersey employers stimulate the economy. Students who complete an apprenticeship program can gain a foothold in traditional and emerging industries, such as the manufacturing industry – an industry with a high demand and an unmet need for a skilled workforce,” Kean added.
“We need to give prospective college students and apprentices an equal opportunity to succeed,” Kean remarked. “It is my hope that the federal government will answer our call for action, so that all students can have the chance to save for the education and workforce training they need to succeed.”
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