Pell Grants Should Cover Good Short-Term Worker Training Programs
Anne Kim, Washington Monthly
Christian Couric is living proof that short-term, career-focused educational programs—provided they are high-quality courses for in-demand fields—can put workers on track to high-paying jobs. Most of these programs don’t, however, qualify for federal financial aid through the Pell Grant program, putting them out of reach for workers who are low-income or unemployed.
The three courses Couric took at Blue Ridge Community College cost about $5,600, including $1,998 for a welding fundamentals class and about $3,700 for two courses in pipe welding. Although Virginia offers a workforce training grant program that can pick up two-thirds of the tuition, BRCC President John Downey says many students in his corner of rural north-central Virginia still can’t afford to enroll.