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Harder Introduces New Bill to Open Federal Scholarships to Students Pursuing High Skill Valley Jobs

WASHINGTON — Today, Representative Josh Harder introduced the Connecting Students to Great Jobs Act which for the first time ever will let the federal government support Valley students pursuing degrees in high skill, high paying jobs. Right now, Federal Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students at 4 year universities or folks pursuing careers in education, meaning they leave out short-term certificate programs that help link students directly to good middle class jobs in the Valley’s largest industries. Rep. Harder’s bill will fix this disparity, allowing federal dollars to flow directly to students gaining expertise in fields critical to the Valley like water, agriculture, and technology.

“Right now, if you want a degree in philosophy, you get federal help, but if you want a certificate to be a maintenance mechanic or irrigation designer, you’re on your own. That makes no sense and it isn’t based in reality,” said Rep. Harder. “This bill will help get our students the training they actually need for the good-paying jobs right here in the Valley.”

The Connecting Students to Great Jobs Act would support programs like those at Modesto Junior College (MJC) which are targeted at local industries. Students seeking certifications at MJC for irrigation design or management, mechanized agriculture operation, heavy machinery management, or landscape maintenance are currently ineligible to receive Pell Grants for these programs. The bill will also ensure states have the resources to create comprehensive, locally tailored career connected learning programs with local businesses for students, including apprenticeships, comprehensive internships, and other real-world experience opportunities.

Read the text of Rep. Harder’s new bill here.

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