Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand?: Amy Klobuchar

Advance CTE is posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform and is polling above one percent. Check back for the next blog in this series, and catch up on previous posts!

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar presidential campaign platform includes an agenda for “Shared Prosperity and Economic Justice,” that outlines how education can be more accessible and equitable, as well as connect to workforce development. Klobuchar’s platform includes a postsecondary education plan “for affordable education that connects students with the jobs of today.” The details of this plan cover a number of ways that postsecondary education can be more affordable and support success in the workforce. 

  • Provide Tuition Free One and Two-Year Community College Degrees and Technical Certifications, Promote Apprenticeships, and Respect the Dignity of Work
    Klobuchar proposes a new federal-state partnership to cover the cost of tuition for one and two-year degrees at community colleges, technical certifications and industry-recognized credentials. Klobuchar also shares that she will connect students to jobs by working with high schools, community colleges, universities, business, labor unions, trade associations and job training centers to ensure that students have the information they need about the types of credentials and education needed for different careers, job availability and projections in those careers and expected wages. Support for apprenticeships is emphasized in this plan, and Klobuchar has the goal of doubling the number of apprenticeships throughout her potential first term. She plans for her Secretary of Labor to explore how apprenticeships meet in-demand occupations and create a national campaign in order to achieve that goal. Improving tax incentives for retraining and postsecondary education is also part of this agenda. Klobuchar outlines her proposed Progress Partnerships, that among other things would incentivize state education departments to evaluate and update school curricula to improve career readiness and postsecondary outcomes. Klobuchar makes a campaign promise to help districts take on the tuition costs of dual enrollment.
  • Lower the Cost of College and Reduce the Burden of Student Loans
    This proposal includes a commitment to double the maximum Pell Grant and increase eligibility to families making up to $100,000 per year, as well as ensuring that Pell Grant levels keep up with inflation. Klobuchar will also support states in creating microgrant programs to assist with non-tuition expenses and pilot projects for federal housing to students, as well as expand SNAP eligibility benefits for low-income students. Klobuchar also commits to simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). She shares that she will overhaul the current Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, including expanding to borrowers in in-demand occupations.
  • Support Multiple Paths to Success and Invest in Retraining
    Klobuchar plans to establish a new tax credit for employers to invest in training for employees who would otherwise be laid off through on-site training or by providing paid time off for off-site training. To be eligible for these tax credits the training would have to result in an industry-recognized credential, certificate or degree. Klobuchar also commits to reversing the current administration’s proposal to cut basic education programs for adults. Support for stackable credentials is outlined in this agenda, and Klobuchar shares that she will encourage states to work along with employers, unions, trade associations and community colleges to build stackable credential opportunities for in-demand occupations that offer necessary workplace skills while also moving toward a degree. In addition, this plan commits to starting a grant program for skills-based education so that students can receive academic credit for prior skills and knowledge. Klobuchar will also improve GED programs by connecting them to community college curricula and career skills.
  • Provide All Students Opportunities for Success
    Klobuchar shares that she will expand Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) opportunities, especially for underrepresented groups of students. She will also create a new Pathways to Student Success Initiative that would provide participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) with federal funding to either waive or reduce the first two years of tuition at a four-year school for low-income students. Tribal College and Universities (TCUs) would also be eligible for the Pathway to Student Success Initiative. Additionally, Klobuchar would expand the TRIO and GEAR UP programs, as well as make sure that they are funded at the needed level. This proposal includes supports for veterans through updated education, career counseling and college veteran education centers. 

Klobuchar’s platform covers a “Plan for the Future of Work and a Changing Economy” that promotes success for each individual. This includes building a 21st century workforce in which the education system is coordination with workforce and economic needs, as well as offering additional support to communities that need it in the changing economy. 

To learn more about Klobuchar’s education and workforce development plans you can check out her campaign platform.   

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate


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