Recently, America Forward sent a letter to House and Senate leaders outlining key priorities in ongoing negotiations over a new Build Back Better Act, or similar legislative package.
While the original Build Back Better Act hit a major roadblock at the end of 2021 when Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he didn’t support it, lawmakers continue to discuss potential opportunities to make progress on a range of issues, including education, workforce development, economic opportunity, child poverty, and more.
America Forward called out several key provisions that were included in the original Build Back Better Act, including provisions aimed at:
- Strengthening our childcare system and secure universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds;
- Providing strong supports for postsecondary students by increasing the value of Pell Grants, investing in minority-serving institutions, and ensuring DREAMers are eligible for federal student aid;
- Supporting postsecondary evidence-based student services by investing in a transformative College Retention and Completion Grant program;
- Bolstering and improving critical job training programs, including funds for national service, apprenticeship programs, YouthBuild, and industry and sector partnerships programs that support evidence-based training; and,
- Expanding our most effective child nutrition programs.
In addition, America Forward pointed to several provisions that could be strengthened in any final legislation, including:
- Ensuring that certain grant funds under the workforce programs be used on evidence-based, rigorously proven approaches, including a set aside that aligns with the outcomes-driven structure of the bipartisan Expanding Pathways for Employment Act; and.
- Funding and establishing the Climate Civilian Corps (CCC), which includes a flagship AmeriCorps program that reimagines national service, expands its mission to address longstanding needs in conservation, disaster response and climate resiliency, and creates 300,000 AmeriCorps positions, putting young Americans on a pathway to good-paying climate jobs.
In closing the letter, America Forward challenges lawmakers: “we cannot ignore the pressing needs of students, workers, families, and nonprofits today, nor can we afford to lose sight of the support that will continue to be necessary in the coming months and years. We appreciate your ongoing work to advance the Build Back Better Act.”
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