A bipartisan bill to expand individuals’ use of “529” education savings accounts to cover the costs of professional certification and credentialing programs was endorsed this week in an editorial by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act was introduced last month by Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) to help students and individuals already in the workforce advance their career development through training, certification and credentialing programs. Currently, 529 accounts can only be used to pay for tuition at colleges and universities, vocational schools and other post-secondary institutions. ASAE and the Professional Certification Coalition, which includes more than 100 associations and nonprofits that run certification programs, believe the bill would benefit the association community and the workforce and are urging Congress to pass it this year.

Under the Spanberger-Wittman bill, tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required to enroll in or attend a program that prepares individuals for professional certification, as well as any fees charged by certification programs would be eligible expenses.