Legislative Update: New Guidance on CTE and COVID-19, CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Write Letter in Support of CTE Funding

This week, the U.S. Department of Education released new information about Career Technical Education (CTE) implementation during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Read below to learn more about what questions the Department has answered, a letter from the Co-Chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, the first round of stimulus funding for higher education and a new youth apprenticeship grant opportunity. 

Education Department Shares Information on Perkins V During the Coronavirus Pandemic 

Today, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) within the U.S. Department of Education published a set of questions and answers about CTE in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic. This document answers some of the frequently asked questions about local plan requirements, consultation and data under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The Department will provide flexibilities to states in regard to the local plans and the comprehensive local needs assessment and locally determined performance levels. OCTAE also reinforces that consultation does not need to happen in-person. Finally, information is provided about submitting performance data. 

The first round of guidance from OCTAE that was published last week and covers Perkins V state plan submissions and local applications can be found here. Additional rounds of questions and answers from OCTAE will be added to https://cte.ed.gov/grants/covid-19-information

The Education Department also provided information earlier this week about grant funding. Per the document, a grantee or subgrantee can continue to pay an employee paid with grant funds from the Department during the time that the employee is unable to work because their place of work is closed as a result of Coronavirus. If there is not a policy in place to address this type of circumstance, the grantee or subgrantee can create an amendment or write a new policy. In addition, grant funds from the Department can be used to reimburse nonrefundable travel or registration costs if a conference, training or other type of activity related to the grant is cancelled due to Coronavirus. Finally, grantees or subgrantees can purchase travel insurance for future travel plans under a grant from the Department. 

Congressional CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Ask for CTE Funding in Stimulus Bill

This week, Co-Chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) sent a letter to House leadership asking for the next stimulus bill to include $1 billion for Perkins Basic State Grants. The letter acknowledges the unique challenges that CTE programs face at this time, including interruptions to work-based learning. It also points out that state and local CTE leaders must be responsive to shifting academic strategies as a result of Coronavirus, as well as the changing needs of employers. Representatives Langevin and Thompson highlight the role that CTE students have played during the pandemic, such as donating protective equipment. 

A press release from the Congressmen can be found here

Education Department Announces Stimulus Relief Distribution for Higher Education

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos released a letter outlining the process for the disbursement of the first round of higher education funds included as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund portion of the act includes $12.46 billion allocated to most institutions of higher education to directly support institutions and students affected by Coronavirus. The CARES Act requires that at least 50 percent of this funding should be used to “provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus activities.” These funds can be used for eligible expenses other than tuition, for example food, technology and healthcare. Thursday’s letter addresses the first round of funding that directs more than $6 billion of funds for emergency direct grants to students. Secretary Devos indicated that information on disbursement for the other 50 percent of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding, to be used for supporting institutions directly, can be expected in the next few weeks.

Additionally, the Department released an institution-by-institution allocation of funds to be awarded from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. 

Department of Labor Announces New Youth Apprenticeship Grant

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announced the new Youth Apprenticeship Readiness grant opportunity. $42.5 million is available through this grant for in and out-of-school youth apprentices to participate in new or existing Registered Apprenticeship Programs. ETA will fund 15 to 25 Youth Apprenticeship Readiness grants, and each grant will be funded from $1 million to $5 million. The funding amount for each recipient will be based on the number of youth apprentices enrolled in that program. Applications for this grant must be submitted by 4:00pm EDT on May 6, 2020.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

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