Legislative Update: Biden Stimulus Proposal and Relief Funding Available from ED

January 15th, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden shared a new COVID-19 (coronavirus) stimulus proposal. Read below to learn more about how education is included in that bill, as well as additional information on availability of funds for the latest relief package that was signed into law. 

Biden Shares New Stimulus Proposal

On Thursday evening President-elect Joe Biden shared a proposal for a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. This would include $170 billion for K-12 and higher education to support Biden’s goal of “safely reopening a majority of K-8 schools in the first 100 days” of his presidency. That amount is broken down in the following way:

  • $130 billion would go to elementary and secondary education for safe reopening of schools and additional supports. This funding can be used for activities such as reducing class sizes, modifying spaces to allow for social distancing, closing the digital divide and hiring counselors to support students as they transition between remote and in-person learning. A portion of this funding must also go to students in low-income areas that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, as well as to a COVID-19 Educational Equity Challenge Grant that will go to state, local and tribal governments to partner with stakeholders.  
  • $35 billion would go to expanding the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. This funding will be designated to public institutions, as well as public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). This money can support distance learning, ensuring colleges have the resources and protocols necessary since the pandemic and providing emergency grants to students. 
  • $5 billion would be for a Hardest Hit Education Fund, that will go to governors to disperse to the students most significantly impacted by the pandemic across early childhood education, K-12 and higher education. 

The full legislative text has not been released yet. Advance CTE will share additional information as it becomes available.  

ED Provides More Information on COVID-19 Relief 

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has continued to make funding available for the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) that was passed at the end of December. As a reminder, the bill included close to $82 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund, comprised of $53 billion for the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, $22.7 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and $4.1 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. 

On Thursday, ED announced that $21.2 billion for the HEERF is now available. Of that amount, $20.5 billion is for public and non-profit colleges and universities, and $681 million is for proprietary schools. Public and non-profit schools can use this funding for activities such as student supports, technology costs and faculty trainings. Proprietary schools can use this funding to provide financial aid grants to students. If an application was submitted by an institution for the HEERF through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, no additional application needs to be completed. More information can be found here

ED also announced the availability of GEER funding. Of the GEER Fund, $2.75 billion is designated for the Emergency Assistance to Non-public Schools (EANS) award, with the rest going to supplemental GEER awards. The EANS funding can be used to safely reopen schools, address learning loss and continue instruction. EANS awards will be allocated to each governor based on the state’s share of low-income school-age youth enrolled in non-public schools. ED shared that after governors submit an EANS application they can expect a response within 24 hours. The GEER awards will be allocated based on the formula used in the CARES Act. Additional information can be found here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: CTE Increase in FY21 Appropriations and COVID-19 Stimulus Package

January 7th, 2021

In the final days of 2020, the full Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bill and COVID-19 (coronavirus) relief package were signed into law. Read below to learn more about what this means for Career Technical Education (CTE) and education funding. 

Congress Increases CTE Funding for FY21

Last week the omnibus bill that was passed by Congress to provide federal funding for the remainder of FY21- which includes Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed)- was signed into law by the president. Importantly, this included an increase of $52.25 million for the Perkins basic state grant, bringing the total to approximately $1.334 billion. Overall, the bill included an increase of approximately $785 million for education programs and an increase of approximately $122 million for labor programs.  

Stimulus Bill Provides Funding for Education 

In the final days of 2020, Congress passed and the president signed into law a new $900 billion COVID-19 (coronavirus) stimulus package. This bill includes close to $82 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund that was created to prevent, prepare for and respond to the pandemic. The Education Stabilization Fund is broken down into three categories that follow the structure of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed in March 2020. 

  • Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, $54.3 billion
    This funding goes to states through the state education agency (SEA) using the approved application from implementation of the CARES Act. Funding will be allocated to each state per Title I Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). At least 90% of funds will be directed to local education agencies (LEAs) in the proportional amount to what’s received under Title I Part A of ESEA. Activities authorized by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) is one of the authorized uses of the ESSER Fund, as well as Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title VII Subtitle B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the Native Hawaiian Education Act and the Alaska Native Educational Equity, Support and Assistance Act. Additional allowable uses of funds include activities such as: purchasing educational technology; professional development; addressing learning loss and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English language learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness and students in foster care. Reporting by the state on use of these funds is required within six months of receipt of funds.U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced on Tuesday that funding has been made available for the ESSER Fund. State allocations can be found here. The Education Stabilization Fund Portal will track how states and districts are spending this money.
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund, $22.7 billion
    This funding will go directly to institutions of higher education for costs associated with coronavirus response and to provide financial aid to students. Funding will be allocated to institutions in the following way: 89% to public and private non-profit institutions through a formula that takes into consideration factors such as Federal Pell Grant recipients; 7.5% for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs); 0.5% for institutions with unmet needs related to the pandemic, as determined through an application process; and 3% for institutions under Section 102(b) of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Uses of these funds include activities such as defraying costs associated with the pandemic, carrying out student supports authorized by HEA to address needs related to the pandemic and financial aid to students. $1.7 billion of the HEER Fund is dedicated to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and MSIs.  
  • Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, $4.1 billion
    Governors are able to use this funding for early childhood education, K-12 education or higher education. $2.5 billion of the GEER Fund is dedicated to Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools. State distribution is split 60% by the population of individuals ages 5 through 24 and 40% by individuals counted under section 1124(c) of ESEA. GEER funding can be used for purposes including: providing emergency support to LEAs selected by the SEA in order to continue providing education services and to support the LEA; providing emergency support grants to institutions of higher education and to provide support to any other institution of higher education, LEA or related entity.

Some additional provisions in the stimulus package include $7 billion for broadband access and $30 million for student aid administration. 

Through this bill Pell Grant eligibility is restored for formerly incarcerated individuals. Advance CTE has been advocating for this policy change, and is pleased to see the removal of the Pell Grant ban.  

The bill’s maintenance of effort provision requires that states keep the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) funding at least at the percentage of the state budget for the average of FY17, FY18 and FY19.  

Advance CTE will continue to monitor implementation and provide updates on future guidance. 

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Full FY21 Appropriations Bill, COVID-19 Relief Package

December 22nd, 2020

This week, Congress voted on a Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bill to provide federal funding for the remainder of the fiscal year, along with a COVID-19 (coronavirus) relief package. Read below to learn about the details of this bill, as well as the Rural Tech Project finalists. 

Congress Passes FY21 Appropriations and COVID-19 Stimulus Bill 

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

With only days remaining in 2020, Congress reached an agreement on a long-awaited additional relief package related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and coupled it with the FY 2021 omnibus appropriations bill to finish the federal appropriations process for the year. The massive bill, providing approximately $900 billion in COVID-19 relief and approximately 1.4 trillion for regular spending across the federal government in FY 2021, passed in the House in two parts by votes of 327-85 and 359-53 and in the Senate by a vote of 92-6 on Monday evening.

The COVID-19 portion of the bill provides a wide range of resources across the federal government, including money for another round of stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, additional Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses, COVID-19 testing and other various aspects of relief aid. For education specifically, the Department of Education will receive $82 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund, significantly more than was included in the CARES Act in March but well short of needs expressed by educators around the country. Out of that funding, $54.3 billion is for K-12 (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund) and can be used for a variety of activities, including school facilities repairs and improvements,addressing learning loss among students, and any activities authorized under other federal education legislation, including Perkins. Higher education will receive $22.7 billion, while the flexible Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund will receive an additional $4.1 billion. Many more details on the distribution and use of these funds will be coming in the new year. In addition, we are likely to see additional proposals to address unmet needs as the Biden Administration comes into office. President-elect Biden stated this package “is just the beginning. Our work is far from over.” in response to the agreement. 

Within the appropriations portion of the bill, there was more good news for CTE! The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill included a $52.25 million increase for the Perkins Basic State Grant, bringing the new total to $1.334 billion for CTE. This increase serves as the fourth straight for the Perkins Basic State Grants, which provides a strong indication of the growing support for CTE on Capitol Hill! This funding increase will ensure a strong base of support for CTE through Perkins funding, with COVID-19 relief funds supplementing for more immediate and one-time costs. 

Below are some additional funding levels in the appropriations bill that are important to CTE educators: 

  • Adult Education: $674,955, an increase of $18,000 from FY 20 level
  • Pell Grants: $5,435 for the maximum award, an increase of $150 from FY 20 level
  • Federal Work-Study: $1,190,000, an increase of $10,000 from FY 20 level
  • Career Pathways for Youth Grants: $10 million, level funded from FY 20 level 
  • Strengthening Community College Training Grants (SCCTG): $45 million, an increase of $5 million from FY 20 level
  • Apprenticeship Grant Program: $185 million to support registered apprenticeships, an increase of $85 million from FY 20 level

In addition, there were several changes to federal programs impacting postsecondary education included within the bill. For example, the ban on Pell grants for incarcerated students is eliminated and there are provisions to streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

ED Announces Rural Tech Project Finalists 

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the five finalist teams for the Rural Tech Project- an initiative with the purpose of advancing technology education and supporting rural educators. Each of the finalist teams will receive $100,000 and move on to the second phase of the challenge, which will take place from January through July 2021. During that time each team will create a detailed program plan and build partnerships. The finalist teams include: 

  • iLead Academy (Carrollton, Kentucky);
  • Louisa County Public Schools (Mineral, Virginia);
  • Premont Independent School District (Premont, Texas);
  • Ravenna High School (Ravenna, Michigan); and
  • Woodlake High School (Woodlake, California).

Meredith Hills, Senior Policy Associate for Federal Policy

New Congressional Research Report: Labor Market Implications of COVID-19 for Women

December 16th, 2020

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a new report on The COVID-19 Pandemic: Labor Market Implications that explores labor market outcomes in 2020, long-term effects on women in the labor force and possible continuing impacts. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has caused both a health and economic crisis, including devastating unemployment rates. It has become evident that women’s employment has seen greater declines than that of men’s. Women’s employment decreased by 17.8 percent (13.3 million people) between January 2020 and April 2020. Men’s employment decreased by 14.3 percent (12 million people) in that same period. 

These findings are even more extreme for Black and Latinx women. Black women’s employment decreased by 17.1 percent between January and April, compared to a 16 percent decrease for white women. Employment for Latinx women decreased by 22.5 percent between January and April, compared to a 16.2 percent decrease for non-Latinx women.

CRS names two main factors in women’s declining employment: 

  1. Women are more concentrated in the occupations that have been impacted by business restrictions and closures, and 
  2. Women are more likely to reduce employment as a result of caregiving needs, which increased due to school closures, family members falling sick or family members needing assistance during the pandemic.


There is concern that there can be long-term impacts on women in the labor force, dependent on factors such as: length of time that the recession spans; “speed and robustness” of economic recovery; how current employment status will affect future employment; and changes (or not) in choices about caregiving. The disparities in employment may persist past the pandemic, and current unemployment for women can impact their earnings even when they return to the workforce in the future. Time out of the workforce can lead to a skill loss, and make it challenging for women to grow in their careers and access new job opportunities.  

With millions of Americans unemployed, Black and Latinx workers, female workers and workers with a high school education or less have been disproportionately impacted. A significant number of adult learners need fast but quality upskilling and reskilling through avenues such as short-term programs that will result in living-wage, in-demand careers. While there is great uncertainty about the pandemic’s ongoing and long-term impact on employment in our country, there is certainty that CTE is a vital solution to decreasing unemployment and to economic recovery. Read Advance CTE’s transition priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration, including making CTE a central part of the Administration’s economic recovery strategy, here

The full report by CRS can be viewed here.

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: One-Week Stopgap Funding Bill and Stimulus Proposal Details

December 11th, 2020

This week, Congress passed a one-week appropriations bill in an effort to avoid a government shutdown. Read below to learn more about what this means for federal funding, as well as details on a stimulus proposal.

Congress Passes One-Week Stopgap Appropriations Bill

This afternoon the Senate passed a one-week spending bill to extend government funding to December 18, 2020 before it expires at midnight today. This follows the House introduction and vote to pass the continuing resolution H.R. 8900 earlier this week. This bill simply extends funding at currently enacted levels for one more week. It includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill, which designates funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant.

Now, the president must sign this bill by midnight tonight, December 11, when federal funding expires. Congress will then take the next week to propose and vote on either a full appropriations package for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2021, or another CR. 

Bipartisan Senate Group Releases Additional Stimulus Details

The bipartisan group of Senators who announced a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus framework last week shared out additional information on funding allocations this week. The outline includes $82 billion for education funding, which will be split into a Governors Emergency Relief Fund, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, Higher Education Emergency relief fund (including set asides for minority serving institutions) and relief for territories and the Bureau of Indian Education. Funding levels for each of those streams are still not clear. This proposal also includes $160 billion for state, local and tribal governments to be used “as the basis for good faith negotiations.” At this time, there is no additional information about how these funds can be used. Full legislative text has not been released yet. If this bill were to pass, it would operate retroactively to December 1, 2020 and extend through March 31, 2021.   

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: New COVID-19 Stimulus Framework and Appropriations Committee Chair

December 3rd, 2020

This week, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced a new COVID-19 (coronavirus) stimulus framework. Read below to learn more about this proposal, as well as committee leadership changes in the House, the revamped College Scorecard, a formal request for information on work-based learning programs for youth and the significance of having an educator in the White House. 

Senate Announces Coronavirus Relief Bill

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of Senators announced a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus framework. This is significantly lower than what has been proposed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress so far, and the intention is to provide short-term and immediate pandemic relief. The bill includes $82 billion for K-12 and higher education, though the breakdown between funding levels for K-12 and postsecondary education is not clear. The proposal also includes $160 billion for state, local and tribal governments, as well as $10 billion for broadband. If this bill were to pass, it would operate retroactively to December 1, 2020 and extend through March 31, 2021.   

House Elects New Appropriations Chair

Today, following the retirement of House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY), Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) was voted to be the new committee chair. DeLauro’s win came after her endorsement by the Democratic House Steering and Policy Committee earlier this week. Currently, DeLauro serves as the Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) Appropriations Subcommittee so she is well versed in Career Technical Education (CTE), education and workforce funding.   

ED Expands College Scorecard 

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the revamped College Scorecard to further improve an individual’s ability to navigate data and make informed decisions about higher education. The College Scorecard now includes median income data two years post-graduation. Earnings data will continue to be added each year moving forward to provide both short and long-term outcomes information. Additionally, Parent PLUS Loans are now included in this resource. In the short term, the College Scorecard will continue to be updated to include federal loan repayment data in an effort to demonstrate how former federal student loan borrowers from a specific program within an institution were able to meet repayment obligations. 

ED Requests Information on Expanding Work-Based Learning for Youth

This week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced a new Request for Information on Expanding Work-Based Learning Opportunities for Youth. OCTAE is “interested in learning about successful approaches to expanding work-based learning opportunities for youth from States, Tribes, state and local educational agencies, community-based and other nonprofit organizations, employers, industry associations, philanthropic organizations, faith-based organizations, researchers, and other interested individuals and entities.” This stakeholder input will inform ED’s implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and coordination on federally supported youth employment initiatives with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) partners. 

The full notice in the Federal Register asks specific questions on successful practices and strategies, public and private partnerships, outcomes data and evaluation design, student barriers and employer barriers. Submissions are due by January 13, 2021. 

New Administration Includes Educators 

As we prepare for the transition of the new presidential administration and session of Congress, it is significant to note that the incoming First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, is a career educator and education advocate. Dr. Biden teaches writing and English at Northern Virginia Community College, and plans to continue in this role following President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Dr. Biden plans to use her platform to speak about education issues such as tuition-free community college, broadband and technology access and food insecurity. 

You can read about Advance CTE’s priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

How COVID-19 is Impacting Young People’s Academic and Career Plans

October 29th, 2020

New Survey Data Illuminates the Impact of the Pandemic on Black and Latinx Youth and Youth from Low-Income Families

In the early spring, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic was often referred to as “The Great Equalizer.” After all, pandemics are equal opportunity threats and we all have to wear masks and attend meetings and classes on Zoom. But as the pandemic wore on, it became immediately clear that it would have disproportionate impacts, exacerbating racial and economic inequities that have long existed in the public education system and in the workforce. Without action from state and local leaders, the pandemic could have long-lasting impacts on young people, particularly Black and Latinx youth and youth from low-income families.

The Great Recession of 2008 provides some insights into the threat of the current coronavirus economic crisis. Five years after the Great Recession, youth unemployment was at an all-time high, impacting the career success of Millennials through the present day. Back in 2013, the Center for American Progress projected that young people would lose out on more than $20 billion in earnings over the next 10 years – and many are still struggling with debt and underemployment as a result of the recession.

Today, an emerging generation of young people – often referred to as Generation Z or “Gen Z” – stands at a similar precipice. We are already seeing early warning signs that the pandemic and related economic recession will impact their plans for education and career success.

How Are Young People Responding to the Pandemic?

New research from Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, funded by Equitable Futures, a project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, illuminates the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on young people. In September, the organization released results from the first of four national surveys examining the pandemic’s impact on Black and Latinx youth and youth from low-income families.

One alarming takeaway from the research is that young people are taking on additional economic burdens as a result of the pandemic. Sixteen percent of respondents reported losing income due to decreased work hours or less business, and eight percent have lost an internship, apprenticeship or similar opportunity.

At the same time, young people are taking on additional responsibilities at home. Thirty-two percent of respondents say they are providing care for a younger member of their household, such as a younger sibling, with Black and Latinx youth responding at the highest rates.

As a result, young people are reconsidering their future academic and career plans. More than half of respondents say they value college differently now, with 28 percent reporting that they used to think college would be worth it but now think college is not worth it. Additionally, fewer young people have clarity about their goals and ideas for their futures than they did before the pandemic. In 2019, 43 percent of respondents said they felt clear about their future goals, compared to 27 percent in 2020 — a drop of 16 percentage points.

The coronavirus may not be the great equalizer, but it is the great disrupter. It may be years before we know the full impact of the pandemic and related economic crisis, but we know enough now to see that young people have been interrupted in their pursuit of education and career success in ways that will likely impact credential attainment, employment and earnings for years to come.

Trying Times Require Strong State Leadership

As a nation, we are at a crossroads, and states have a critical role to play in minimizing the impact of the Coronavirus on Black and Latinx learners and learners from low-income families. What can state leaders do to support young people in this time of crisis?

For one, they can provide clear information and guidance to help learners make informed decisions about their academic and career goals. This includes providing clear, transparent information about high-skill, high-wage and in-demand careers, the credentials needed to access those careers, and affordable opportunities to earn those credentials.

Additionally, with many young people experiencing loss of income as a result of the pandemic, state leaders can strengthen earn and learn opportunities so young people are not forced to choose between education and work. Paid work-based learning opportunities like youth apprenticeships are a proven way to build technical and employability skills on the job.

And finally, states can monitor data — including additional research from Goodwin Simon — to understand how Black and Latinx youth and youth from low-income families are being impacted by the pandemic and respond accordingly.

Early data is already illuminating the disastrous effects of the pandemic. State and local leaders can act now to pave the road to economic recovery and well-being for those who have been most impacted by the crisis.

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

COVID-19 Federal Response and Recovery: Recap Part Two

October 21st, 2020

Over the past eight months Congress has taken action to respond to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, with varying results. This included passing stimulus packages, as well as introducing a number of bills that were never passed- or at times even brought to vote. Advance CTE will recap what has gone on in Congress regarding Coronavirus response and recovery in a new blog series. Check out last week’s refresher on the CARES Act here!

Since the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act- a $2.2 trillion comprehensive economic relief package- was passed in March, Congress has introduced many stimulus bills that included funding for education and workforce programs, as well as Career Technical Education (CTE) supports. However, none of those proposals saw any legislative movement. Some bills were voted on by one chamber of Congress while others were never brought to a vote at all. 

Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (RAWA): In May, RAWA was introduced in both the House and Senate. This bill focused on supporting CTE and workforce development programs as a result of the pandemic with a $15 billion investment that includes $1 billion to support CTE programs and activities, as well as $2 billion to re-implement the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. RAWA also included the following proposals through the Strengthening Career and Technical for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V):

  • Offered flexibility at the state and local levels during the pandemic around retention of funds, so that any funds not used during the 2019-2020 academic year because of Coronavirus can be retained instead of returned to the state for redistribution. 
  • Provided flexibility for local Perkins recipients to pool funds in order to support secondary to postsecondary or employment transitions for CTE students whose academic year was altered due to the pandemic. 
  • Waived some of the professional development requirements during the pandemic. 
  • Authorized $1 billion for CTE programs and activities, such as digital and physical infrastructure, virtual academic and work-based learning, restocking supplies that were donated to Coronavirus response efforts, work-based learning supports and subsidies for students and employers and ensuring programs are responsive to updated comprehensive needs assessments as a result Coronavirus. 

RAWA was not voted on in the House or the Senate. 

Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act:  House Democrats introduced the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion relief package, in May. This included $100.15 billion for education comprised of $90 billion in formula grants for K-12 education and $10.15 billion for higher education. It would have also provided $3.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Labor, with $2 billion allocated to worker training. The proposal included some flexibilities related to Perkins V: 

  • Flexibility at the state and local levels during the pandemic for retention of funds so that funds not used during the 2019-2020 school year because of Coronavirus can be retained; 
  • Flexibility for local Perkins recipients to pool funds for supporting secondary to postsecondary or employment transitions for CTE students whose academic year was changed because of Coronavirus; and 
  • Waived some of the professional development requirements during the pandemic. 

The HEROES Act passed in the House and was not brought to a vote in the Senate.

Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA): Senate Democrats introduced CCCERA, a bill that would have provided $430 billion for child care and education activities, in July. The proposed act allocated $1 billion for CTE programs and activities to support state and local CTE needs as a result of the pandemic. This could include updates to physical or digital infrastructure, or expansion of work-based learning supports. The bill included $345 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund- comprised of $175 billion for K-12 schools, $132 billion for higher education and $33 billion for a Governor’s Fund. Additionally, CCCERA would have provided $4 billion to the Federal Communication Commission’s E-Rate program to increase internet access for students and educators. 

CCCERA was not brought to a vote in the House or the Senate. 

Health, Economic Assistance, Liability and Schools (HEALS) Act: Senate Republicans introduced the HEALS Act, a $1 trillion proposal for a comprehensive relief package, in August. Included in this is $105 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund comprised of $70 billion for K-12 education (of which two-thirds are required to go to local education agencies that meet requirements to open in person), $29 billion for higher education and $5 billion for a Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund. It also would provide the Perkins V flexibilities around pooling of funds, retention of funds and professional development that were outlined in RAWA.

The HEALS Act was not brought to vote in the House or the Senate. 

HEROES 2.0: At the end of September, House Democrats introduced a revised version of the HEROES Act, or HEROES 2.0. This $2.2 trillion relief package includes $208.1 billion for an Education Stabilized fund, comprised of $175 billion for K-12 education, $27 billion for public postsecondary education (with 75 percent distributed based on the number of Pell-grant eligible students), $4 billion for governors to use on education (including restoring state and local education support) and $2 billion for the Bureau of Indian Education and tribal colleges. The proposal also includes an additional $11.9 billion for higher education, including private institutions of higher education. 

HEROES 2.0 was passed by the House in the beginning of October. 

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

COVID-19 Federal Response and Recovery: Recap Part One

October 15th, 2020

Over the past eight months Congress has taken action to respond to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, with varying results. This included passing stimulus packages, as well as introducing a number of bills that were never passed- or at times even brought to vote. Advance CTE will recap what has gone on in Congress regarding Coronavirus response and recovery in a new blog series. Check back next week for part two!

In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R.748). The $2.2 trillion stimulus package provided comprehensive economic relief and resources as a result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), including funding and flexibilities for education and workforce development programs. The CARES Act was the last stimulus package that was passed by Congress and signed into law. 

Education Stabilization Fund
The CARES Act authorized $30.75 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund, which provided funding to states, school districts and institutions of higher education for costs related to Coronavirus. The breakdown of funds is as follows:  

  • $13.5 billion for the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESERF)
    Money was distributed to the State Education Agency (SEA) through a formula. From there 90 percent went to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) for activities in response to Coronavirus.
  • $3 billion for the Governors Emergency Relief Fund (GEERF)
    Funding was distributed to states based on a formula that took population and poverty into account, and the SEA then determined which LEA received funds. The governor could also determine which higher education institution received funding, as well as designate any institution of higher education, LEA, or “education related entity” as essential for carrying out emergency education services. 
  • $14.25 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)
    Of this, $12.557 billion was allocated to institutions that were eligible for Tile IV funding under the Higher Education Act. $348.8 million went to the improvement of postsecondary education program, and 50 percent of that needed to be used for students. Finally, $1.046 billion went to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

Of the Education Stabilization Fund, one percent was allotted for competitive grants to states most affected by Coronavirus: 

  • Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant: This competitive grant provides funding to support states in serving their students during the 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.
  • Reimagining Workforce Preparation Grants: This competitive grant provides funding to either expand education opportunities through short-term career pathways or sector-based education and training programs, or to support local entrepreneurship through small business incubators. The participating states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Michigan, Nevada, New York and Virginia. 

National Emergency Education Waivers
This bill provided opportunities for the SEA, Indian tribe or LEA to request waivers of certain statutory and regulatory provisions. 

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
SEAs could apply for emergency relief grants to be used in elementary and secondary schools. 

Additional Measures in the CARES Act

  • Authority for the Secretary of Education to provide waivers from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, except civil rights laws, that are necessary in response to Coronavirus;
  • Temporary relief for federal student loan borrowers to defer payments, principal and interest for 6 months. This also gives flexibility to students with federal student loans that dropped out of school as a result of Coronavirus;
  • Allows postsecondary students at institutions that closed because of Coronavirus to discount that semester toward their lifetime Pell eligibility; 
  • Continues federal work study payments to students who are no longer able to work as a result of closures;
  • Flexibility for local workforce boards to use Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds for administrative costs (such as digital resources); 
  • $360 million for the Department of Labor to invest in programs to support training and services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers and homeless veterans; and
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to provide unemployment insurance for those who would not typically be covered, but cannot work as a result of Coronavirus.

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

This Week in CTE

October 3rd, 2020

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

CAREERS IN CONSTRUCTION MONTH

This week we have kicked off Careers in Construction Month. Take the pledge to engage with students about the opportunities in the construction industry this October. 

MANUFACTURING DAY 2020

 

AWARD RECIPIENT OF THE WEEK

During the recent AlabamaWorks! Virtual Conference, recipients of the first AlabamaWorks! Innovator Awards were recognized. These awards recognize individuals in the state of Alabama that are innovatively advancing workforce and career opportunities.

Adopted from AlabamaWorks!

Tiger Mochas is a collaborative effort between special education students, FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) members and peer volunteers at Auburn High School. This student-led organization is serving up a lot more than hot cups of coffee to their peers because through their work, students are provided meaningful, hands-on work experience that teaches important functional, social and daily living skills. Graduates of the program leave with not only work and employability skills, but in-demand soft skills that will help them succeed in life and work.

More on each award recipient can be found here

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge to advance pre-apprenticeships. Eligible AEFLA-funded organizations are now invited to submit preliminary designs of a program that is innovative, aligned to industry demand and provides support to program participants as they move into apprenticeships and the workforce. For more information, register for the virtual information session held October 15, 2020. 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

On October 1, the president signed a stopgap funding bill, avoiding a government shutdown since federal funding expired on September 30, 2020. The Senate passed this continuing resolution (CR) on Wednesday in a bipartisan vote of 84-10, following the House vote on the CR last week. This bill (H.R. 8337) extends federal funding at the currently enacted levels through December 11, 2020 for all 12 appropriations bills, including Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed). All education programs will continue at the currently enacted funding levels through the duration of the CR. 

Follow the CR and more legislative updates here

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Kansas designed the Excel in CTE initiative to help more learners enter high-wage, high-demand careers by providing funding for industry-recognized credentials and allowing secondary students to access CTE dual enrollment opportunities. Since the program was launched in 2012, Kansas has seen dramatic increases in the number of high school students earning industry-recognized credentials and postsecondary CTE credit.

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

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

 

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