Cole’s bipartisan bill would designate early childhood teaching jobs as community service

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation that would make early childhood education eligible as community service under the Federal Work-Study Program.

“As the Federal Work-Study Program is currently administered, vital early education jobs do not qualify for community service,” said Rep. Cole, who is ranking member of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. “This is a missed opportunity not only for our children but for our talented future teachers.”

Rep. Cole on Aug. 20 introduced H.R. 4196 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make the proposed change to the Federal Work-Study Program, which provides funds for part-time employment to help needy students to finance the costs of postsecondary education, according to the U.S. Department of Education, which administers the program. 

Students may receive program funds at some 3,400 participating post-secondary institutions around the country, the Department of Education says, and their hourly wages must not be less than the federal minimum wage.

“Studies have shown that the earliest years of education are the most critical for learning and setting children up for future success,” Rep. Cole said on Aug. 22. “I am proud that this legislation encourages college students with a passion for teaching the youngest generation and provides greater opportunity for valuable career growth in the field.

“But most importantly,” he added, “this bill brightens the future for our kids.”

H.R. 4196 has been referred to the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee for consideration.