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Pilot Creative Financing Mechanisms

The federal government will need to pilot innovative financing mechanisms as well as innovative program models.

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The primary strategy for financing programs that make up a national career navigation system should be to scale up successful programs
and increase their corresponding funding sources, such as postsecondary institutions, government workforce programs, employers, philanthropy, and users. But this will not be sufficient to fund all the necessary services. For a broadly accessible, coherent, and cost-effective national system to gain traction, the federal government will need to pilot innovative financing mechanisms as well as innovative program models.

One possibility lies in the Center for American Progress’s report “Working Learners: Educating Our Entire Workforce for Success in the 21st Century,” where Louis Soares advocates “Micro-Pell Grants” as a way to direct more funding to working learner programs. The Micro-Pell policy concept was to target Pell grants toward individuals who work and would achieve a credential incrementally over time. Perhaps these grants could cover career navigation services at community colleges or community-based organizations as well.

Another possibility is using unemployment insurance to pay for career navigation and training before workers become unemployed. This would be especially helpful for workers who know layoffs are imminent. The ability to seek career guidance and start retraining before unemployment begins could help people find a job more quickly, and they would spend less time collecting unemployment.

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