HARRISBURG – The Senate Education Committee passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) that would dedicate $15 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to meet the increased need to upskill working age adults for the post-COVID workforce.
Bartolotta’s Senate Bill 766 would create the Adult Education and Workforce Recovery Fund to provide resources that enable adult education programs to provide bridge courses, high school equivalency test scholarships, tuition-related expenses and other innovative programming for adult learners negatively impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“Many adult learners need additional support to succeed in completing their High School Equivalency, job training, technical training and postsecondary education, and those resources are important to offer,” Bartolotta said. “After all, adults who participate in integrated job training and education programs are more likely to advance to family-sustaining careers – an admirable goal that gives them independence and lessens the burden on government.”
Priority investments would include digital literacy, career services, workforce/adult basic education partnerships and tuition assistance.
Of the $15 million, $12 million would be designated to applicants from school districts, local intermediate units, career and technical schools, community colleges, literacy councils, libraries and community organizations. The remaining $3 million would be designated to education entities recognized by the Secretary of Education to serve exclusively adult populations.
The fund would be housed in the Pennsylvania Department of Education and established as a competitive grant fund for eligible adult basic education providers. Grant awards would be capped at $500,000. Larger grants could be considered for multi-agency collaborations.
Senate Bill 766 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
Click here for Bartolotta’s remarks on the bill.
CONTACT: Eric Kratz, 717-787-1463