Maria knows the value of a high-quality, affordable education. With the help of Pell Grants, she was the first in her family to graduate college. She's fought hard to give Washingtonians that same opportunity, standing against cuts to Pell Grants and working to increase the size and scope of the program. Maria's also pushed to increase limits on tax free college savings accounts to help Washington families save for college.
In classrooms throughout Washington, students are preparing for careers and higher education, and it's imperative that every student start out on the right path. Maria has been a strong advocate of the Head Start program, which prepares Washington students for school through education, health, and nutrition services. She's made modernizing Washington's schools and giving them access to new technology a top priority. Having worked in Washington's hi-tech industry, Maria knows that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education is crucial in preparing Washington students to lead the industries of the future. She's worked to support STEM education throughout the country and is working to build partnerships between Washington classrooms and companies to giving students cutting edge insight and opportunity.
Learning doesn't end at high school or even college and that's why Maria's worked to provide Washingtonians with lifelong access to education. She has been a leader in the fight to maintain adult basic education funding, which helps adults complete their GED and increase literacy and proficiency in English. She's made sure that workers have the resources they need to retrain or grow as professionals, pushing to exclude taxes on employer-provided educational assistance and extending that to assistance for graduate studies as well. Maria's also fought hard to extend job training benefits to workers that have been displaced by unfair foreign trade.
While we can never fully repay our veterans for their sacrifices and bravery, Maria continues to fight to ensure they always have the door to education open for them. She's pushed legislation to remove the expiration date on GI Bill education benefits and continues to make sure our service members have the job skills they need to enter the workforce after returning home.