Council on Foundations Applauds Re-Introduction of the “Workforce Development through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act”

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Council on Foundations applauds the reintroduction of the Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act (S.2191/ H.R4095) by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Terri Sewell (D-AL). The bill would allow charitable foundations to provide post-graduation scholarships to help address the growing student debt crisis and stimulate regional economic growth.

The bill, based on the Come Home Award created by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, was reintroduced after months of working closely with a coalition of philanthropic leaders and members on both sides of the aisle.

“The student debt crisis is damaging the financial futures of American students and families," said Kathleen Enright, President & CEO of the Council on Foundations. "For rural communities where it can be more difficult to attract or retain people with the skills to fill needed jobs, post-graduation scholarships are a great incentive for recent graduates to come back home or move to places they may not have previously considered. The Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act provides foundations with tools to help attract talent to meet the needs in their communities. This legislation is a result of years of collaboration between members of Congress and philanthropic leaders, and I urge Congress to send this bill to the President’s desk to sign into law immediately.”

The legislation already has broad support across the philanthropic sector and within Congress.

Randy Maiers, President & CEO, Community Foundation of St. Clair County

“We’re excited to partner with Senator Peters in supporting post-graduation scholarships like the Come Home program we’ve developed that is bringing the best and brightest workers back to St. Clair County,” said Randy Maiers, President & CEO, Community Foundation of St. Clair County. “These awards are a win-win for our area: they help recipients pay back their student loan debt while putting their training and education to good use.”

Joshua D. Gibb, President & CEO, Galesburg Community Foundation

"Post-graduation scholarships will provide a critical tool for communities to attract and retain needed talent for our workforce. Our communities need good policy to unlock resources that will aid them in attracting highly skilled professionals with the education, skills and drive to make a difference in our communities- both urban and rural.  Post-graduation scholarships are a win-win, because not only do the recipients benefit, but so do our communities, our employers, and the people who call our communities home.”

Amanda Lessley, President & CEO, Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation

“As a community foundation serving rural Illinois, we help people give where they live. Our donors want to make a difference in the people and places of southeastern Illinois, and the post-graduation scholarship program can help them do that. It is a philanthropic tool to help reverse the brain drain and attract talent back to our communities. To see a young family move to town and fill a needed job is a win-win for our donors and recipients.

Population decline, lack of skilled workers, and outmigration are enormous challenges for the entire state of Illinois, not just southeastern Illinois. Therefore, we are thankful that the State of Illinois has passed the first statewide resolution urging community foundations to create post-graduation scholarship programs to attract talent back to our state. I am looking forward to joining with many community foundation colleagues throughout the state in launching these programs. We want to change the narrative and show others that Illinois is a great place to live, work and raise a family! We want YOU in our state and community!”

Kyle Caldwell, President & CEO, Council of Michigan Foundations

“The Council of Michigan Foundations is proud to work with Senator Peters and our community of philanthropy on innovative strategies to retain and attract talent in support of Michigan’s talent agenda and economic growth,” said Kyle Caldwell, President and CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations. “As an increasing number of students are taking on significant loan debt, the Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act offers financial relief for graduates looking to come to or return to Michigan. This added resource strengthens the partnership between philanthropy and businesses as we look to create pathways to economic stability for individuals and families that strengthen Michigan’s workforce.”

Paul D. Daugherty, President & CEO, Philanthropy West Virginia

“Philanthropy West Virginia and West Virginia’s innovative foundation network are pleased to work with U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito to build up a stronger economy and workforce,” said Paul D. Daugherty, president & CEO of Philanthropy West Virginia. He adds, “As West Virginia recovers from the pandemic, now is a critical time for us to grow our state’s population and economy by attracting and retaining great young talent.  The Workforce Development through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act, once passed and enacted, will be a triple win by providing new opportunities for philanthropy to partner in economic development, address our state’s population decline, and reduce the post-graduation burden on our younger workforce.”