Workforce Development



Employers and government have a dual role to play in the education and training of employees to help them become better-qualified for jobs at all skill levels. In addition, equipping valuable yet vulnerable populations with the skills they need to become gainfully employed will improve their quality of life, grow the U.S. pool of skilled talent and increase the earning potential of the U.S. workforce.



In today's competitive workforce, a comprehensive employer-sponsored benefits package is a key component used by employers to attract, retain and build a skilled workforce. However, the law governing employer-provided education assistance (also known as "Section 127" of the Internal Revenue Code) has not been updated since it was enacted in 1978 and does not reflect 21st-century workforce needs. In fact, the amount of $5,250 has not been increased in 40 years. The federal government estimates that there are 44 million Americans with student loan debt, bringing the total U.S. student debt burden to more than $1.5 trillion. At the same time, to further build a skilled workforce, public policy needs to support and incentivize employers to hire from untapped groups such as veterans, individuals with disabilities and individuals who were formerly incarcerated.


SHRM Position

  • SHRM supports strengthening and expanding Section 127 education assistance to include student loan repayment as well as to allow employers to provide up to $11,500 per year.

  • SHRM believes that modernizing Section 127 will promote employer investment in training and development of the workforce to address the skills gap. 
  • SHRM believes that providing tax-free education assistance is an important tool for furthering higher education, allowing employers to attract the best employees and building an educated workforce to continue to position the U.S. to compete globally.
  • SHRM supports policy initiatives that promote the hiring of untapped talent pools such as the formerly incarcerated, individuals with disabilities and veterans. 
  • SHRM supports public policies that foster and expand greater availability of apprenticeship programs and other solutions based on identified needs at the local level.

Upcoming EventsSee All Events

April 14
Webinar: Identifying Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Priorities in Your Organization
April 19 - 21
WorkVision 2020
June 30
CHRO Summit