WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced legislation that would expand eligible uses of the ‘529’ tax-advantaged education savings program to include state, federal, or industry recognized training or credentialing programs. Costs related to certification exams and maintaining certification credentials would also be made eligible. Current law only allows workers and families to use these accounts to pay for college, university, and vocational school expenses. 

The bill is cosponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Joe Manchin (D-WV). Companion legislation in the House of Representatives is led by Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Dean Phillips (D-MN), and Fred Upton (R-MI).

“As we rebuild our workforce, it’s more important than ever for families and workers to have access to training and development programs that will position them for success,” said Klobuchar. “Whether they’re enrolling in college, getting a license or credential for a trade, or attending a short-term training program, people need the ability to save for their futures. There’s more than one pathway to success, and this legislation will help workers find—and afford—the best path for them.”

“In Indiana, we have a high number of high quality and high paying jobs that require additional training, but not a four-year degree. These jobs remain empty without qualified workers to fill them. This bill is an important step in creating a culture that supports Career and Technical Education (CTE) as well as college after high school, and I’m proud to support this bill to work to close our skills gap,” said Braun.

“The Professional Certification Coalition – whose nearly 100 members include non-governmental professional certification organizations, professional societies, and service providers – appreciates Congresswoman Spanberger, Congressman Upton, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Braun and the other original cosponsors’ work to reintroduce the Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act,” said Denise Roosendaal, CAE, Executive Director, Institute for Credentialing Excellence, and Mary Kate Cunningham, CAE, Senior Vice President for Public Policy, American Society for Association Executives, who serve as co-chairs of the Professional Certification Coalition. “This important legislation will provide an incentive for families to save money that can be used to pay for job training and for expenses associated with obtaining or maintaining a valuable professional certification or other postsecondary credential. These credentials are highly valuable for individuals seeking to advance in their careers and communicate to the public that certified professionals have met established standards for knowledge, skill, and competency in their fields. We are proud to support this legislation and look forward to working with Congress to ensure its enactment into law.”

Klobuchar has long supported efforts to help workers succeed in an increasingly specialized workforce while making the country’s economy more competitive. Last month, she reintroduced the American Apprenticeship Act to create and expand apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Additionally, in January, Klobuchar introduced the Skills Investment Act and Skills Renewal Act to help Americans save for and access skills training, apprenticeships, and professional development programs.