State and Local Association Issues

State and Local Association Issues

Associations Provide Career-Building Certifications 

ASAE advocates for workforce development policies with broad potential to benefit all industries, professions and workers.  

Associations are America’s primary source of post-college education and training. They provide expertise-driven certifications that demonstrate specialized knowledge and experience within a given sector, increase individuals’ earning power, promote marketplace competition and boost industries and professions that span the economy. 

ASAE’s advocacy and coalition-building efforts focus on two federal legislative initiatives that would improve access to economically vital certifications and other credentials that associations provide. Read ASAE’s workforce development policy brief for more information.  


Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act 

The bipartisan, bicameral Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act (H.R. 2171 / S. 905) would expand eligible uses of tax-favorable “529” savings plans to cover costs associated with workforce training and credentialing programs. The legislation would also enable 529 plan beneficiaries to use their funds to pay for examinations necessary to obtain and maintain recognized private professional certifications and other credentials. Now, only costs related to attending colleges, universities, vocational schools, registered apprenticeship programs, K-12 private tuition or other post-secondary institutions are eligible 529 expenses. 


Resources and Education to Build (REBUILD) Skills Act 

The REBUILD Skills Act, which is not yet introduced, would create a federally funded Career Rebuilding Scholarship Fund, administered by approved certification organizations and worker training programs, to distribute scholarships to eligible individuals who incur covered expenses to take certification exams or enroll in a training program. Funds would cover up to the lesser of 95% or $3,000 of a program.  

This bill would also create a federal directory of approved, legitimate training and certification programs that could benefit all American workers and not just individuals eligible for scholarships.  

Eligible individuals include: 

  • Any workers displaced from their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic; 
  • Military members who rolled out/are rolling out of service during the pandemic; and 
  • Spouses of military members who rolled out/are rolling out of service.