Senator Marshall Introduces American Workforce Empowerment Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. introduced the American Workforce Empowerment Act (AWEA) with Senators Budd (R-NC) and Braun (R-IN). This legislation would expand eligible uses for 529 savings plans. Traditionally, these plans have been used for expenses related to degree programs at colleges and universities. 

Under the AWEA registered apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, state apprenticeships, high school career and technical education programs, post-secondary credentials, and expenses related to these programs are all considered eligible uses of 529 funds. By broadening the scope of  the AWEA new programs are eligible for 529 plan usage. This expansion will help incentivize students to pursue careers in the trades and other high demand industries.

“Back home not a day goes by that I don’t hear about the workforce shortages across the state. We have high-paying jobs at the ready but struggle to find qualified employees for the position. Our bill helps fill these workforce gaps and empowers Kansans to pursue non-traditional educational opportunities more easily,”Senator Marshall said. “Allowing 529 funds to be used beyond brick-and-mortar schooling makes sense. Whether it’s a four-year college degree or apprenticeship opportunities, the 529 savings plans need to be flexible to meet the growing demands of our workforce.”   

“We should always be looking to expand opportunities for skills-based, low debt educational options and the American Workforce Empowerment Act is an innovative way to do just that. This bill would allow students to use their 529 accounts for more higher-education expenses like apprenticeships and CTE programs. Thanks to Senator Marshall for leading this bill, and I look forward to working to get it to the Senate floor and passed,” Senator Budd said. 

“Every high school student in America needs to know that you don’t necessarily have to go to college to have a great career. I have visited many workforce development programs across the Hoosier state that provide valuable, hands-on job training to prepare Indiana’s next generation of talent. By expanding opportunities and access to skills training programs, and letting Americans use their ‘529’ education savings to pay for it, we can address the nationwide skills shortage and fill high-demand, American jobs.” Senator Braun said. 

“Education and workforce development are pivotal in unlocking doors of opportunity for all Americans,”Senator Collins said. “By broadening the scope of 529 plans to be used for expenses related to post-secondary credentialing programs, pre-apprenticeships, state apprenticeships, and high school CTE programs, this legislation will empower students to pursue their dreams and develop skills that are in high demand among employers.”


529 plans are a tax-advantaged investment vehicle to encourage saving for future higher-education expenses. Money going into these types of plans/accounts get taken out pre-tax for qualified expenses, including qualified higher education expenses, or tuition for elementary or secondary schools

Currently there are 8.8 million job openings in the U.S.according to the Department of Labor