Legislation seeking to address workforce issues by expanding access to financial assistance passed the Senate Education Committee Thursday.
Senate Bill 163, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Storm, loosens some of the restrictions on who can access state financial aid dollars and how those dollars can be utilized.
The legislation removes the statutory ban on individuals with felony records from receiving and utilizing KEES awards and removes broad restrictions on currently-incarcerated Kentuckians from accessing state financial aid programs.
It also allows KEES awardees to use their awards at proprietary schools provided that the program falls within one of Kentucky’s top-five high-demand workforce sectors (Advanced Manufacturing, Business/IT, Construction, Healthcare, and Transportation).
Kentucky Chamber Senior Vice President Kate Shanks testified in favor of the bill noting it supports post-secondary attainment but also successful re-entry for individuals re-entering society by giving them full access to educational opportunities, which can lead to a good-paying job and self-sustainability.
Senate Bill 163 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.