Standing Up For Wisconsin Students: Support for the Working Student Act and the CTE Opportunity Act

After meeting with students and recent graduates in Wisconsin who are struggling with the cost of a higher education, Tammy introduced two bills to help address student loan debt and college affordability.

  • The Working Student Act targets students who work their way through school to allow them to complete their degrees more quickly and with less debt. The bill increases the amount working students can earn without that income counting against them in accessing need-based federal financial aid. Click here for more info on this bill.
  • The CTE Opportunity Act extends eligibility for federal loans to students in short-term Career and Technical Education programs, increasing access to courses that provide students with the industry-recognized credentials that employers are looking for. Click here for more info on this bill.

Both bills have received support in Wisconsin and across the country. Check out what education leaders are saying in support of the Working Student Act:

"Students – sacked with spiraling college costs and crippling student debt – should be able to work their way through college without penalty. But, as it stands now, the small income they earn unjustly decreases access to need-based student aid. Senator Baldwin's bill addresses this absurdity. All working students deserve equitable access to federal aid."
Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers

"With students all over the nation juggling work and school in order to cover college costs, it is about time that someone took action to ensure that that hard work pays off. Senator Baldwin's Working Student Act is aimed at a serious problem that creates disincentives for work while also making college less affordable. Her plan is long overdue, and should be passed quickly to ensure that more students can use their work earnings to finance a college degree."
Sara Goldrick-Rab
Founding Director, Wisconsin Hope Lab
Professor of Educational Policy Studies & Sociology, University Wisconsin-Madison

“Working students are doing double duty when they hit the books and punch the clock. The Working Student Act will ensure that hard-working students are not penalized for being diligent in earning the money they need to further their educations and careers. This Act will allow low-income working students to keep more of their wages to support their families and still be eligible for the financial aid they need to meet the growing costs of college.”
David J. Socolow
Director of the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

“"Raising the Income Protection Allowance is a commonsense approach that will greatly assist our hard working students with the most financial need. It’s not uncommon to see students work their way either completely out of Pell Grant eligibility or reduce their eligibility substantially by the time they are seniors. It is a frustrating cycle resulting in a need for more work which then lowers grant eligibility again. This bill ends this cycle and provides the needed assistance to those students who are working to help finance their college education.”
Susan Fischer
Director of Financial Aid, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Cuts in financial aid and tuition hikes are endangering access to higher education for prospective students and piling debt on those already in school. Senator Baldwin's Working Student Act is a simple reform that will stop punishing hardworking students for being hard-working. It's a welcome bit of good news in the fight to put the brakes on a student loan debt crisis spiraling out of control.”
Scott Ross
Executive Director, One Wisconsin Now

Support for the CTE Opportunity Act includes:

“The CTE Opportunity Act will help students access federal loans to complete certificate and other short-term programs, making it more feasible for working adults and other non-traditional students to return to school and improve their skills. The limited financial resources of WTCS students means that the costs of earning credentials can be a major barrier.  Therefore, any federal effort to expand financial aid availability (both grants and loans) for WTCS students will help improve Wisconsin’s economy.”
Morna K. Foy
President, Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS)

“The CTE Opportunity Act showcases the commitment that ACTE’s partners in the Senate CTE Caucus have to America’s CTE students, and we appreciate their efforts on this important initiative. By giving postsecondary CTE students pursuing shorter-term programs equal access to crucial federal aid programs, this bill will ensure more students have the resources they need to obtain education and training for in-demand careers.”
LeAnn Wilson
Executive Director, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)

“This legislation is a promising step towards ensuring equitable access to federal financial aid programs for postsecondary Career Technical Education students. As our nation works to educate and train students of today for the jobs of tomorrow, it is critical that we afford them the necessary resources to complete education and training programs that are most demanded by employers.”
Kimberly Green
Executive Director, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

More information on Tammy’s efforts to address college affordability here.

The Wisconsin Fresh Coast Water Tour Wrap-Up

This August, Tammy spent the work period traveling the state and focusing on how Wisconsin’s freshwater coasts – the Great Lakes, Mississippi River and other major waterways, like the St. Croix River – contribute to our state’s economy and quality of life.

082914 Water Tour Final

Tammy started in Milwaukee to highlight how Lake Michigan supports a “Made In Wisconsin” economy. After speaking to students at Discovery World's Career Pathways program and visiting science summer camps, Tammy toured UW-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences, the only grad program in the nation solely dedicated to the study of freshwater.

080114 UWM Freshwater

Then, Tammy made her way up the Mississippi River, stopping at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Vernon County and Lock and Dam 6 in Trempealeau. She also visited the St. Croix Crossing and the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway. Tammy learned about lake sturgeon and freshwater mussel recovery and restoration programs, as well as the economic benefits of local navigational waterways.

080514 Genoa Fish Hatchery

After traveling western Wisconsin up the Mississippi, Tammy stopped by Lake Superior and toured Fraser Shipyard and the Port of Duluth-Superior. She met with met with stakeholders to discuss how the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) supports commerce and economic growth locally and across the state. Tammy helped pass WRRDA, which addresses the Great Lakes dredging crisis and invests in Wisconsin's water infrastructure.

Fraser Visit 2

To cap off the month-long tour of Wisconsin’s fresh coasts, Tammy toured Marinette Marine on the Menominee River, Marine Travelift and Dan’s Fish in Sturgeon Bay, and spoke to the Wisconsin Port Association in Green Bay.

Tammy at Marinette Marine

Tammy visited Marinette Marine to tour the shipyard and discuss the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program. Tammy is a strong supporter of the LCS program, which employs 2,000 people in Wisconsin and supports jobs in the nearly one hundred Wisconsin companies that supply parts to build the ships. Wisconsin has a strong shipbuilding industry with a history of success providing ships for our nation’s defense.

Tammy then visited two businesses in Sturgeon Bay that have created local jobs and economic growth for the community with support from the Export-Import Bank. Tammy toured Dan’s Fish, Inc. to discuss how this family-operated business has benefitted from Export-Import Bank investments to sell freshwater fish internationally. She also toured Marine Travelift, which uses Wisconsin-sourced materials to manufacture boat-handling equipment that is exported around the world.

Tammy is committed to restoring and protecting Wisconsin’s freshwater resources, supporting investments that will strengthen our environment and our economy security. Get an in-depth look of each stop of Wisconsin Fresh Water Coast Tour here on the Baldwin Blog and @SenatorBaldwin on Twitter.

Wisconsin Fresh Coast Water Tour Updates:

Tammy Visits Western Wisconsin

Tammy Visits Superior

Tammy Visits Marinette & Sturgeon Bay

#MadeInWI Monday Highlights for August 25

Across Wisconsin, innovators and entrepreneurs are working hard to move our economy forward. Check out some of the recent stories from across the state this week:

Wisconsin Fresh Coast Water Tour: Tammy Visits Marinette and Sturgeon Bay

This August, Tammy is touring Wisconsin’s freshwater coasts, learning how the Great Lakes, Mississippi River and other major waterways contribute to our state’s economy and quality of life.

Water Tour Map

Earlier this month, Tammy made her way up the Mississippi River, stopping at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Vernon County, Lock and Dam 6 in Trempealeau, the St. Croix Crossing, the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, the Fraser Shipyard in Superior and the Port of Duluth-Superior. This week, Tammy is visiting several locations on Lake Michigan, including Marinette, Sturgeon Bay, and Green Bay.

On Tuesday, Tammy visited Marinette Marine to tour the shipyard and discuss the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program. Tammy is a strong supporter of the LCS program, which employs 2,000 people in Wisconsin alone and helps meet our national security needs.

Tammy at Marinette Marine

“Wisconsin is home to one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation, including a strong shipbuilding industry with a history of success providing ships for our nation’s defense. I have fought for this defense program because it employs thousands of hardworking Wisconsinites and positively impacts not only the local community but has a ripple effect across the state -supporting Wisconsin jobs and nearly one hundred Wisconsin companies supplying parts to build the LCS at Marinette Marine,” said Tammy.

Tammy at Marine Travelift

Wednesday in Sturgeon Bay, Tammy visited two businesses that have created local jobs and economic growth for the community with support from the Export-Import Bank. Tammy toured Marine Travelift, which employs nearly 200 workers and uses Wisconsin-sourced materials to manufacture boat-handling equipment that is exported around the world.

Tammy also met with Dan Schwarz of Dan’s Fish, Inc. to discuss how his family-operated business has benefitted from Export-Import Bank investments to sell freshwater fish internationally.

Stay tuned to the Baldwin Blog and @SenatorBaldwin on Twitter for more updates on the Wisconsin Fresh Coast Water Tour, which continues throughout August.

Wisconsin Fresh Coast Water Tour Updates:

Tammy Visits Western Wisconsin

Tammy Visits Superior

Supporting Women-Owned Small Businesses and Entrepreneurism

Tammy has joined her Senate colleagues in supporting two pieces of legislation that encourage women’s business ownership and give women-owned small businesses more opportunities to compete. The Women’s Small Business Procurement Parity Act and the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act would support women-owned businesses by helping improve access to lending, business training and federal contracting.

“Our economy desperately needs to grow more small business start-ups,” said Baldwin. “These bills invest in job creation, support our American entrepreneurial spirit, and will help strengthen the economic security of women and their families.”

A recent report titled 21st Century Barriers to Women’s Entrepreneurship shows significant obstacles for women looking to start or grow their own business. It illustrates how women-owned businesses represent a $3 trillion economic force and support 23 million jobs, yet still face significant barriers compared to their male-owned counterparts. Women entrepreneurs account for just $1 out of every $23 in small business lending, despite representing 30 percent of all small companies. They are also more likely to be turned down for loans or face less favorable terms than men.

Together, the Women’s Small Business Procurement Parity Act and the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act address these issues by:

Allowing sole-source contracting for federal contracts: This would put women-owned businesses on equal footing with other disadvantaged groups in the contracting process. This would change current law, and aims to help the federal government meet its goal of awarding 5 percent of contracts to women-owned businesses – a goal that has never been reached since it was established by legislation 20 years ago.

Requiring data on women-owned small businesses: A study with a 2015 deadline will identify industries in which women-owned small businesses are under-represented.

Expanding and improving the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloan and Intermediary Lending programs: This would reach more women borrowers who need up to $50,000, as well as reauthorize the SBA Intermediary Lending program – now a pilot program -- to provide more women access to loans between $50,000 and $200,000. This improves the program to better meet borrowers’ needs through more flexible terms and expanded technical assistance.

Increasing funding for the Women’s Business Center program: Expanding and improving counseling and training services would reach more women entrepreneurs, especially in low-income areas.

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