MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For some time, 529 college savings plans have been a way save money for the numerous expenses associated with earning a college degree. However, no such savings plan exists for the recent community college and technical school graduate who may be looking to start their own business or pursue additional certifications or training.
At least not yet.
Republican candidate for West Virginia Treasurer, Riley Moore, is proposing to institute such a program if elected to office.
“You can buy books and computers with a college savings account, why can’t we prepare our working class folks here, our blue-collar workforce here in West Virginia the tools to succeed?” Moore said during a guest appearance on Talk of the Town with Dave & Sarah on WAJR-AM.
According to Moore, the program would mirror the current Smart 529 College Savings Plan. Under that program, individuals and family members can save and invest pre-tax money to be put toward college eductions. What Moore is proposing is provide a similar savings account but instead of later using the money to pay for tuition or books, use the money to pay for equipment, licenses, certifications and other necessary expenditures associated with an individuals chosen field.
While the actual cost of attending a community and technical college can be covered by the state, Riley asserts the hidden costs of entering a skilled trade remain a hindrance for many West Virginians.
“When I was going through my first line of work as a welder, one of the things that was a road block to realizing some of my dreams as a tradesmen and going out on my own to start my own business was the cost of some of the equipment,” Moore said.
Moore is confident the plan would help spur small business in the state and be a boost to the labor unions in West Virginia.
“And it’s going to allow West Virginia to lead. There are no other states in the county doing this right now. I’ve talked to a number of national level state treasurers’ organizations and they love the idea. This is an opportunity for West Virginia to be a leader in how we are preparing our workforce for the future.”