Legislative Update: National Apprenticeship Act Reauthorization and Senate FAFSA Hearing

September 18th, 2020

This week, the House Committee on Education and Labor introduced the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020. Read below to learn more about what is included in this bill, a Senate hearing on student financial aid and the extended deadline for postsecondary institutions to receive stimulus funding. 

House Introduces National Apprenticeship Act 

On Thursday, the Democrats of the House Committee on Education and Labor released a proposal to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act. The new bill, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, would invest $3.5 billion in Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships over five years, and develop approximately 1 million new apprenticeships. The Act authorizes $400 million in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) with annual increases of $100 million, up to $800 million in FY25. Additionally, this would codify the role of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship, codify the role of State Apprenticeship Agencies and create an interagency agreement between DOL and the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The full Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Thursday, September 24, 2020. 

A fact sheet on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 can be found here, a section-by-section summary here and the full bill text here

Senate Holds Hearing on FAFSA Reform

Earlier this week the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a “Time to Finish Fixing the FAFSA” hearing. HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has long advocated for updating the complicated and burdensome Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. After announcing his retirement from Congress, Senator Alexander is continuing to push for FAFSA simplification to be completed before he moves on. 

Witnesses for the hearing included: Kim Cook, Executive Director of the National College Attainment Network; Rachelle Feldman, Associate Provost and Director of Scholarships and Student Aid for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Kristin Hultquist, Founding Partner of HCM Strategists; Dr. Bridget Terry Long, Dean and Saris Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Dr. Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College of Columbia University. 

ED Announces Extension for Higher Education CARES Act Funding

ED reopened the application period for funding under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that is authorized through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The department opened back up the application process through September 30, 2020. Postsecondary institutions can apply for funding at grants.gov. Additional details can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

How to Promote Career Technical Education as Vital to Economic Recovery

September 3rd, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected the most foundational aspects of our society, including our education systems and nation’s economy. With millions of Americans unemployed and some industry sectors shuttered or undergoing rapid transformation, Black and Latinx workers, workers with a high school education or less and female workers have been disproportionately impacted. [1] Now, more than ever, CTE is vital to our nation’s learners, employers and America’s economic recovery.

States play a critical role in making the case for CTE. As such, Advance CTE released new assets to help state CTE leaders communicate with policymakers, the media, employers and other key stakeholders. 

Below is a brief overview of each asset and how it can be used. However, before you get started, make sure you, your staff and key spokespeople are speaking the same messages. Use the talking points in this resource to help guide your presentations, resources you plan to develop, and ensure consistency across all who will be talking about this important issue. Of course, supplement state and local data if you have it! 

VIDEO: 

CTE’s Role in the Workforce and Economic Recovery Video

CTE is a program that works for both learners and employers, and should be a critical component of America’s road to economic recovery. In this short video, there are major talking points that help make the case for CTE. All data referred to in the video is cited here. Link to this video on your state websites and in social media posts. This video can also be embedded in your presentation slide decks and in newsletters.

FACT SHEETS: 

Secondary CTE and the Economic Recovery Fact Sheet

Secondary CTE is critical to preparing learners for an evolving workforce and ensuring they have the foundational and transferable skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. For secondary CTE learners and those individuals at the beginning of their careers, losing opportunities to gain hands-on experience and job training can have a major long-term impact. This fact sheet helps to make the case for a continued investment in our K-12 CTE programs. 

Postsecondary CTE and the Economic Recovery Fact Sheet

One study estimates that 60 percent of job losses may be temporary [2] while other studies predict a quarter of job losses being permanent. [3] It is imperative that we continue to invest in CTE and workforce systems to ensure individuals can have the opportunity to reskill and upskill to be prepared to re-enter or advance in the post-coronavirus economy.

Link to these fact sheets on your state website and in your presentations. Use them as leave behinds at in-person meetings (if you are having them).  

PROMOTIONAL TOOLS: 

Promotional Toolkit

This promotional toolkit provides recommended newsletter language and social media posts, a blog post and graphics. Use these graphics with the recommended language on your social media channels, in your presentations, on your state website and in your newsletters.

How To Talk about Career Technical Education and Economic Recovery

In this guide, you are provided ways to use the assets, independently or together, in your state and who to communicate with to make the case for CTE.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

[1] https://www.stradaeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Public-Viewpoint-Report-Week-4.pdf

[2] https://bfi.uchicago.edu/working-paper/covid-19-is-also-a-reallocation-shock/

[3] https://www.philadelphiafed.org/-/media/covid/research-for-equity-in-recovery/how-job-training-matters.pdf?la=en

This Week in CTE

August 28th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK 

Advance CTE hosted the final webinar of our Summer Learning Series: CTE’s Role in the Future of Work and our Economic Recovery. This webinar featured insights on the current economic downturn and how CTE can rise to meet the challenge and ensure each learner is prepared for economic mobility.

You can view the webinar recording and presentation material here

STUDENT STORY OF THE WEEK

Keilah Sadler has earned a construction degree from the Metro Community College Career Academy in Nebraska one year after graduating from high school. Taking CTE courses allowed Keilah to develop her future career plans while building self-confidence. Read more about Keilah’s story in this article published by the Omaha World-Herald.

INDUSTRY OF THE WEEK

This week, MxD and the ManpowerGroup released the The Hiring Guide: Cybersecurity in Manufacturing. This hiring guide is a playbook for manufacturing executives, HR departments, educators and policy makers as these groups work together to cultivate a talent pool and workforce to protect the digital interface of the manufacturing industry, now and in the future. Download the guide here

TWEET OF THE WEEK

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

This week, the House CTE Caucus hosted a briefing, The Effects of COVID-19 on Career Technical Education. Speakers included a CTE student, CTE instructor, State CTE Director and employer, moderated by Advance CTE’s Meredith Hills, discussed each of their unique perspectives on how they adapted to remote learning, the challenges unique to CTE, and opportunities for the future. 

The panelists included:

– Makenna Glassman – Welding Academy Student, Gateway Technical College, Elkhorn, WI

– Bob Kilmer – Retired Construction and Architecture Instructor, Enumclaw High School, Enumclaw, WA

– Angel Malone – Director of Career and Technical Education, South Carolina Department of Education  

– Public Sector Representative – Apple, Inc.  

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Louisiana piloted the Building Employment Skills for Tomorrow (BEST) program in 2018 to expand work-based learning opportunities for learners with disabilities. The BEST program connects learners with disabilities to work-based learning opportunities, equips them with real-world skills through training and provides mentorship to program participants. Louisiana continues to ensure learners with disabilities have the support necessary to participate and succeed in meaningful work-based learning and career readiness activities.

View the policy profile in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

K-12 School Reopening Plans: Exemplars for CTE

August 26th, 2020

As schools begin to reopen and learners begin their classwork nationwide both virtually and in-person, the health and safety of students remains at the forefront of educators’ and administrators’ minds. Throughout the summer, state educational agencies (SEAs) published school reopening guidance to help schools make informed decisions about the best course of action for their students and school community while maintaining safe practices. Whether continuing to educate virtually or in-person, these guidelines are as varied as the local plans that implement them. 

Considering the varied nature of these plans and the special circumstances that often underlie the logistics of implementing Career Technical Education (CTE) for a school district or throughout a region, Advance CTE tracked school reopening plans for each state and analyzed how they implicated CTE. The tracker that resulted can be found here. As of writing, 33 states’ reopening plans mention CTE in any way, including cursory mentions or health- or sanitation-specific guidance (see figure 1). Of those 33, 12 have robust CTE-specific guidance either embedded in their state reopening plan or as a separately published document. While each of these warrants viewing and merits discussion, we have chosen four plans to highlight due to their breadth or depth or because they have an innovative element that distinguishes their plan from others. While these highlighted plans are not the only examples of strong CTE-specific guidance, they can serve as models for other state agencies looking to further develop guidance of their own as schools continue to reopen and local education agencies (LEAs) continue their transition to in-person education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1. (Last updated 8/24)

Minnesota

Minnesota’s state reopening guidance (last updated 8/21; CTE guidance on pages 95-101) provides comprehensive information about CTE throughout the state including guidance for classroom/laboratory instruction, work-based learning, career development and advising and career and technical student organizations (CTSOs). It also provides links to dozens of resources that are program-specific or unique to a particular program.

New York

New York’s state reopening guidance (last updated 7/16; CTE guidance on pages 103-108) provides similarly robust information across a variety of CTE topics. Beyond content and delivery and CTSO guidelines, this reopening plan also includes information about industry partnerships, guidelines for students with disabilities and standards for program approval, Perkins V and other data reporting. 

Nebraska

Nebraska’s CTE-specific guidance (published 8/4) provides guidance and guidelines for special classroom settings unique to CTE as well as general CTE guidance. They utilize “Guiding Principles of Nebraska CTE” (included within) to inform the document. Further, the setting-specific guidelines are delineated based on the reopening status of the state, which provides for flexibility across time. 

Tennessee

Tennessee’s CTE-specific guidance (published 7/15) provides in-depth guidelines not only for all areas of CTE, but also for how content is delivered (in-person, hybrid or virtual). Their plan draws from the Association for Career Technical Education (ACTE)’s High-quality CTE: Planning for a COVID-19-Impacted School Year (published in June), which asks guiding questions to ensure all considerations are discussed when undertaking school reopening at the local levels.

Finally, Advance CTE has its own guiding questions in the workbook Prioritizing CTE Through and Beyond COVID-19 that can be utilized by those at the state level to help employ quality and equity principles throughout reopening strategy. Additional resources can be found on our COVID-19 resources page.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate

Career Technical Education’s Vital Role in Economic Recovery

August 20th, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected the most foundational aspects of our society, including our education systems and nation’s economy. With millions of Americans unemployed and some industry sectors shuttered or undergoing rapid transformation, Black and Latinx workers, workers with a high school education or less and female workers have been disproportionately impacted. Now, more than ever, Career Technical Education (CTE) is vital to our nation’s learners, employers and America’s economic recovery.  

While there is great uncertainty about the pandemic’s ongoing and long-term impact on our country, there is certainty that CTE is vital to recovery because of its proven track record. The postsecondary completion rate is nearly doubled for learners in CTE programs (56.8%) compared to all two-year institutions (29%). And 86% of adult CTE learners continue their education or are employed within six months of completing a program. Additionally, about a third of CTE learners are enrolled in programs in leading fields such as health care, information technology and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) – careers that are especially important during the coronavirus.

Through CTE, displaced workers can upskill and reskill and prepare for reentry into the workforce and employers can find a pipeline of well-qualified talent who can adapt to and thrive in the ever-changing world of work. This is especially important given that after the last recession, the majority of new or replacement jobs went to employees with more than a high school diploma, including 3.1 million jobs that went to those with an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificates. 

As our nation simultaneously continues to fight the pandemic and also begins to respond to the economic downturn that has harmed so many businesses and families, ensuring that equitable access to CTE is part of the solution is a message every policymaker needs to hear. To that end, today, Advance CTE released new tools including a short video to help state CTE leaders make the case for CTE to policymakers and other key stakeholders.

Legislative Update: House Passes Appropriations Bill and Senate Introduces Stimulus Package

July 31st, 2020

This week, the full House voted on Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) proposal. Read below to learn more about what was included in this bill and next steps, as well the newly introduced stimulus bill from Senate Republicans and the recipients of the Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant.  

Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bill Passes in the House

Today, the House passed an FY21 appropriations minibus, or grouping of appropriations bills, on party lines. This $1.3 trillion package (H.R. 7617) included the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill, which provides an increase of approximately $716 million for federal education programs and an increase of approximately $254 million for federal labor programs. This bill increases the Perkins Basic State Grant by about $18 million, or 1.4%, bringing the total amount of funding to about $1.3 billion. There are six appropriations bills that make up this minibus, in addition to Labor-HHS-Ed, the package also includes: Defense; Commerce, Justice and Science; Energy and Water Development; Financial Services; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. A summary of the full bill can be found here

Next, the Senate will introduce and vote on their own appropriations bills, which can be expected to differ from what was passed in the House. Ultimately, the House, Senate and administration must come to an agreement on FY21 federal funding.

Senate Releases Stimulus Bill Proposal
Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here

On Monday evening, Senate Republicans released the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protections, and Schools Act (HEALS Act), an approximately trillion-dollar proposal for the next round of relief funding aimed at quelling the economic and public health crisis ignited by the pandemic.

Some of the larger provisions of the HEALS Act include $200 per week in unemployment insurance, down from $600 in the previously enacted CARES Act, another round of stimulus checks, liability protection for businesses and schools, an additional round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, among other measures.

More specifically for education, the proposal calls for $105 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund, authorizes Emergency Education Freedom Scholarships, consolidates the nine current student loan repayment plans into two, and provides various emergency waiver authority to the Secretary for federal programs, including the Perkins Act. Of the $105 billion, the Elementary and Secondary Education fund would receive $70 billion, with two-thirds of that conditioned on local education agencies meeting certain requirements around reopening. Higher education institutions would receive $29 billion with funding being allotted based on the number of Pell Grant recipients. The last $5 billion would go to the Governors’ Emergency Relief Fund, which can be used for any emergency grants for any part of education. Although the proposal does not include dedicated funding for CTE programs, they are included in the allowable use of funds for money allocated to the Education Stabilization Fund.

Additionally, the bill authorizes additional funding for various workforce development activities.  The appropriations package provides a total of $950 million in the Department of Labor for adult and youth training programs.

This proposal will serve as the Senate Republicans opening bid with Democrats, who will most certainly seek to make changes prior to any relief proposal being signed into law. Democratic leadership in both chambers have voiced serious concerns with the proposal, saying that it “falls short of what is needed to help with the coronavirus recession.” Democrats will seek to include hazard pay for essential workers, further address the looming eviction crisis, provide additional funding for social safety programs, and have serious concerns with the conditioning school funding to physical re-opening and liability protection provisions. It is expected for negotiations to start immediately and could potentially drag out into August, forcing Congress to work through a portion of their recess.

We are continuing to advocate for these critical resources directly for CTE and workforce programs to be included in the next relief package to ensure learners are prepared for labor market needs, particularly as the economy begins to rebuild after the pandemic. We need your help quickly to emphasize this message with Congress as the congressional leaders come together in negotiations. Click here to ask your Members of Congress to support the inclusion of funds for CTE, as provided in the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act, in the next relief package.

Education Department Awards Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant 

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that 11 states will receive over $180 million in new grant funding through the Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant. This initiative will support states in serving their students during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic through new and innovative strategies. The participating states are Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, and award amounts range from $6 million to $20 million. This program is through the Education Stabilization Fund of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: House Continues Appropriations Process and Administration Announces New Initiative

July 17th, 2020

This week, the House Appropriations Committee marked up and passed the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill. Read below to learn more about what was included in this bill and next steps, as well as a new campaign from the administration that supports skills-based training.  

House Passes Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bill

On Monday evening the House Appropriations Committee marked up and passed the FY21 Labor-HHS-Ed funding bill on party lines. This bill included an increase of approximately $716 million for federal education programs and an increase of approximately $254 million for federal labor programs. This proposal would provide an increase of $18 million, or 1.4%, to the Perkins Basic State Grant, bringing the total amount of funding to about $1.3 billion. Some other notable provisions of the bill  include: 

  • An increase of $10 million for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) State Grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); 
  • An increase of $150 to maximum Pell Grant awards; 
  • An increase of $49 million for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs); 
  • An increase of $20 million for Federal Work-Study; 
  • An increase of $15 million to Federal TRIO and GEAR Up programs; 
  • An increase of $50 million for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Grants; 
  • An increase of $10 million for registerested apprenticeships; and
  • An increase of $10 million for the Strengthening Community College Training Grants.

The House also released the full report on the Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill this week. Next, this bill will go to the full House of Representatives for votes. The Senate also needs to go through this process, and will introduce, markup and vote on their own appropriations proposals. 

Administration Announces “Find Something New” Campaign

Written by Hannah Neeper, Policy Research Analyst, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). The original post can be found here

The White House has released its long awaited ad campaign “Find Something New” as an effort to encourage people who are unemployed or unsatisfied in their current occupation to find a pathway to a new job or career. The campaign is a product of  the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, created in 2018, in collaboration with the Ad Council, IBM, Apple and members of the Business Roundtable, and a number of other partners. 

This ad campaign seeks to meet the need for skills-based training as an alternative to four-year degree programs in order for workers to find jobs. This ad campaign is accompanied by a companion website. The website provides resources ranging from self-assessments to professional development, and links to education and training options. A number of videos are also available that may be useful for students as they engage in career development activities. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Education, Training and Skill Development to Support an Equitable Recovery

July 16th, 2020

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, in partnership with the W. E. Upjohn Institute and the Penn Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania, is conducting a webinar series highlighting strategies to promote an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The first webinar focused on the impact of the pandemic on workers and the need for job training and skill development during the recovery. A full recording of the webinar and the speakers’ slides can be found here.

Recent data indicates that about 20 percent of the U.S. labor force has lost employment or earnings since February 2020, and about half of all job losses have taken place in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries. Some demographic groups have been disproportionately impacted by employment or earnings losses, including Black and Latino workers, workers with a high school education or less, and female workers. Notably, a large percentage of recent job losses may be permanent, meaning the worker won’t go back to employment at that particular job; Steven Davis from the University of Chicago shared recent calculations suggesting that 32-42 percent of job losses that have resulted from the coronavirus may be permanent. 

To date, most policy responses to the coronavirus have taken the form of relief, but Harry Holzer from Georgetown University urged a shift toward recovery-related policies that support job creation and strategies to ensure that workers can obtain available jobs. Holzer encouraged policymakers to focus on three important points when deciding which education and training policies to enact:

  • Policy proposals should target support to the highest-need workers, including permanently displaced workers, workers who have experienced involuntary reductions in their hours, low-wage workers in “essential” jobs, and young workers who are new entrants into the labor market.
  • Policies should support education and training for work in high-demand fields.
  • Policies should implement education and training approaches that research has shown to be effective, such as work-based learning and apprenticeship, occupational and career guidance, and financial aid for higher education.

Davis suggested that many of the massive shifts in consumer spending, working arrangements and business practices that have occurred as a result of the pandemic will not fully reverse. For example, working from home, online shopping and delivery, and virtual meetings and interactions may become the norm as people are getting used to these practices and as businesses realize that virtual interactions are often easier and less expensive. Davis encouraged policymakers to think ahead to the future and enact policies that facilitate the shift toward virtual, rather than enacting policies that try to return to the pre-pandemic status quo. 

Michelle Miller-Adams from the W. E. Upjohn Institute encouraged a focus on policies that facilitate a better match between labor supply and demand, including identification of skills shortages and training to meet those needs. She shared a number of state and local examples of programs that support individuals who are disconnected from work, including the concept of neighborhood hubs as a supplement to the workforce system’s one-stop job centers, and the use of technology to provide career guidance and information to job seekers. Miller-Adams also encouraged the expansion of high-quality tuition-free college programs, which include elements such as universal eligibility, embedded student support, strong alignment with employer needs and stable funding; she highlighted the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs as best practices. 

Meghan Wills, Director of Strategic Initiatives

2020 Presidential Election: Policy Recommendations from the Biden Campaign

July 15th, 2020

As part of his presidential campaign platform, former Vice President Joe Biden recently released new policy recommendations ranging on topics from education to climate change to criminal justice reform. These proposals make up the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, and were developed through joint task forces that included Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and supporters of his most recent presidential campaign. 

This document includes a section on “Providing a World-Class Education in Every Zip Code.” There are many intersections with Career Technical Education (CTE) in these policy proposals. For one, Biden calls for expanding access to CTE programs and specifically points out the need to increase CTE funding. The task force states that the country’s education system should prepare learners for “college, careers, and to be informed, engaged citizens of our communities, our country, and our planet.” This means reimagining the education system, for example understanding the many different ways that learning can be demonstrated. The recommendations also cover how to make higher education affordable and accessible- looking to strategies such as doubling the maximum Pell Grant and increasing federal funding for wraparound services. CTE, and apprenticeships in particular, is pointed to as a strategy to offer opportunities for lifelong learning. 

The recommendations include strategies for “Building a Stronger, Fairer Economy.” One piece of this section discusses how to respond to the economic recession and COVID-19 (coronavirus). It has become more clear than ever that a huge gap in Internet access exists, and this is detrimental to educational success and opportunities. The task force recommends that each person in this country have access to high-speed and affordable broadband service. This is a position that Advance CTE agrees with, and has been advocating for in coronavirus response and recovery bills. 

As we near the 2020 presidential election, Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available on candidate platforms. 

You can register for our upcoming webinar: 2020 Elections Landscape: Implications for Career Technical Education to hear from a panel of experts will provide a preview of the 2020 elections at both the national and state level and will discuss how the results of the elections will impact policy overall, and specifically the Career Technical Education system.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: House Begins Appropriations Process and President Campaign Addresses CTE

July 10th, 2020

This week the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies released a Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bill, which includes funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). Read below to learn more about this bill, as well as the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations for the 2020 presidential campaign. 

House Proposes Increase for Fiscal Year 2021 CTE Funding 

Written by Alisha Hyslop, Senior Director of Public Policy, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here

On July 6, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bill. According to the Committee’s press release, the bill includes “$196.5 billion in overall funding, an increase of $2.4 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $20.8 billion above the President’s 2021 budget request after accounting for offsets and adjustments.” Policymakers were limited to the approximately 1.22% increase due to statutory budget caps that had been agreed to by both chambers last year.

However, even with this very modest overall increase, there was some good news for CTE in the bill! While the funding level proposed for Perkins does not match the amount suggested by the Administration earlier this year, the bill proposes an $18 million, or 1.4% increase for the Perkins basic state grant, bringing its total funding level to approximately $1.3 billion.

Under the Department of Labor, the bill also includes small increases for WIOA state grant programs, registered apprenticeships and Strengthening Community College Training Grants, among other programs, with a total budget of $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration (a $187 million increase) and $12.7 billion overall (a $254 million increase).

This is the first official congressional step toward funding these programs for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The process has been significantly delayed due to attention on the pandemic response, but is now expected to move forward relatively quickly in the House. The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the bill on July 7, and the full Appropriations Committee will consider it on Monday. House leaders have expressed interest in passing all 12 appropriations bills, including this one, on the House floor before the August recess. The process remains stalled in the Senate however, so it is likely one or more continuing resolutions will be needed to extend funding at the end of the fiscal year.

While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn’t come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, particularly as a result of the pandemic, it is a solid first step in this process considering restrictive budget caps. We will continue to work with Congress on appropriations bills and on the next COVID-19 response package to advocate for more resources to ensure all students have access to high-quality CTE programs. 

Biden Announces Unity Task Force Recommendations

This week, former Vice President Joe Biden released new policy recommendations as part of his presidential campaign platform. These recommendations were developed through joint task forces that included Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and supporters of his most recent presidential campaign. The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations include policy proposals on issues such as climate change, criminal justice reform and health care. The proposals also cover education, workforce development and the economy- including CTE strategies. The document states that the campaign “will work to expand access to career and technical education” and that the country’s education system should support deeper learning and life skills. CTE, and apprenticeships in particular, are also listed as a way to increase opportunities for lifelong learning. The Education Unity Task Force, comprised of eight education experts and advocates, specifically recommends that education funding allow for the scaling of CTE.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

 

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