Our final panel discussion on the morning of Tuesday April 1, 2014, was on other major federal policies and initiatives that impact – or have the potential to impact – Career Technical Education (CTE). David Blaime, Senior Vice President at the American Association of Community Colleges, opened the panel by discussing some of the major provisions he believes will be addressed in future reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which won’t likely occur before 2015. He identified three themes emerging from the current discussions: reducing complexity in student lending (in terms of regulation and the number of programs), accountability tied to the quality of postsecondary institutions, and a potential shift to outcome-based accreditation, as well as how the U.S. Department of Education oversees accrediting bodies.
Angela Hanks, Policy Analyst from the New Skills Coalition next gave an update on the current state of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which has been due up for reauthorization since 2001. In the last year, the House and the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee each passed an updated WIA bill. While these two bills were developed and passed largely along party lines, last week the leadership from both the House and Senate met in conference to discuss opportunities for a new WIA. NASDCTEc will keep everyone informed as details emerge from those discussions.
Finally, Dr. Johan Uvin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, shared some of the Administration’s major initiatives to support CTE and workforce development aligned to President Obama’s goal of ensuring every American has at least one year of postsecondary education or training. Specifically, he mentioned the $100 million in Youth Career Connect grants and the Performance Partnership pilots, which will allow a state, region, locality, or Federally-recognized tribe to pool a portion of discretionary funds they receive from multiple federal agencies while measuring and tracking specific cross-program outcomes, to facilitate better coordination and reduce redundancies. He also highlighted a number of new items put in the 2015 budget including $150 million for competitive high school redesign grants, $110 million for STEM innovation networks and $75 million for accelerated pathways.
Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director