News This Week:
Bipartisan support for a strong investment in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was the top highlight of the week, but we’ll also dig into a recent happenings on the Hill, news and resources out of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and updates on ESSA state plans and budget resources.
“Dear Colleague” Letter Garners 140 Signatures in Support of Perkins
On April 6, a “Dear Colleague” Letter was sent to the chair and ranking member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to request a strong investment in Perkins in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Appropriations Bill. The letter garnered 140 signatures from Members across 38 states and shows the strong bipartisan support for CTE in the House (we anticipate a similar letter will be circulated in the Senate later this spring). Please check to see if your Member of Congress signed the letter here and if so, send a thank you note! We will also be thanking these Members and the House CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) for leading the charge to collect signatures!
Go to High School, Go to College Act Reintroduced
On April 6, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the Go to High School, Go to College Act, which would “make college more affordable for low-income students by letting them earn college credits while still in high school, funded through the Pell Grant program” according to the press release for the bill.
DOL Announces New Toolkit, Grants
On March 28, DOL released a toolkit to assist in the implementation of WIOA. Tools include a Sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Cost Allocation Analyses and could be used to guide local development processes.
On April 4, DOL announced $5.7 million in grants for states to build and improve upon their workforce databases. State Workforce Agencies are eligible to apply for funds, part of the sixth round of DOL’s Workforce Data Quality Initiative.
U.S. Department of Education (ED) Releases ESSA State Plan Peer Review Criteria:
The criteria notes that ED “will conduct a peer review only of the portions of a State plan related to Title I, Part A (ESEA sections 1111(a)(4) and 8451(d)); Title III, Part A (ESEA section 3113(c)); and Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Act; (section 724(a) of the McKinney-Vento Act).” Department staff will review all other sections of state plans.
Hearing Highlights Skills Gap, Need to Invest in CTE
“Invest in career and technical education. Strengthen the direct funding for community colleges and career and technical education programs that play a crucial role in training the nation’s middle-skill workforce” – this testimony from Zoe Baird, CEO of the Markle Foundation was part of a hearing, “Examining Federal Support for Job Training Programs” held by the House Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on April 4th. The committee heard testimony from Douglas J. Besharov, Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council who focused his remarks on the “skills mismatch” facing the US and discussed ideas for how to “improve and invigorate WIOA”. Dr. Demetra Smith Nightingale Institute Fellow, Urban Institute testified as well, highlighting promising practices in job training and notes that WIOA “includes provisions and changes that should improve the workforce development system and continue to build evidence about ‘what works.’” These hearings are increasingly important as Congress gears up to make appropriations decisions for both the 2017 Fiscal Year (FY17) and the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18).
Looking for Tools to Communicate About the FY17 and FY18 Budget Proposals?
The Committee for Education Funding has updated its funding charts, including the one to the right demonstrating how the President’s FY17 and FY18 proposals (excluding Pell Grants) compare to 2010 levels. Find charts and additional federal budget resources here.
Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy