Senator Kate Bolz Named Finalist in National Ideas Challenge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Kate Bolz from Lincoln, Nebraska has been announced as a finalist in The NewDEAL’s 2017 New Ideas Challenge.

The New Ideas Challenge is a competition among innovative state and local policymakers to propose ideas for expanding opportunities and improving the government in the new economy. The Communications Director with The NewDEAL Jonathan Dworkin says their competition highlights policy ideas that are being pursued across the country.

“We started the New Ideas Challenge a few years ago to bring together the combined wisdom of these leaders. And to showcase the top policy ideas they are pursuing across the country,” said Dworkin. “Our hope is that other folks throughout the nation can learn from them.”

This year’s challenge was to identify effective ways to address anxieties resulting from a new economy that has left many American families behind. Senator Bolz’s policy idea is in relation to community colleges. Dworkin says her idea ties into NewDEAL’s theme of addressing how to prepare Americans for the changes in the nature of jobs.

“She proposed a fantastic idea about giving people better access to community college courses. Even when they are not credit-baring or not for a particular degree,” said Dworkin. “And her idea really gets at one of our key themes, which is the changing nature of the workplace or the changing nature of jobs that are out there. And how do we best prepare as many people as possible?”

Senator Bolz’s Community College Gap Assistance program would help to provide financial aid to low-income students who are taking non-credit courses in order to work in competitive industries that face workforce shortages. Her proposal would address the issue of there being no federal aid for non-credit community college courses and skills certificates.

The competition is open to 155 members of NewDEAL. Senator Bolz’s proposal is a finalist in the Future of Workforce category. Her program is up against policies from Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky and Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

The other categories focus on the futures of business, communities, government, families, and rural America. The winners of the third New Ideas Challenge will be announced on November 16th at the seventh annual NewDEAL Leaders Conference in Washington.