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Legislative Update: SECTORS Act, DIPLOMA Act, Veterans Training Bill

SECTORS Act Passes House with Bipartisan Support

Earlier this week House of Representatives passed H.R. 1855, the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act on a unanimous voice vote. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Loebsack (IA) and Platts (PA) in the House and Senators Brown (OH), Murray (WA) and Snowe (ME) in the Senate. The SECTORS Act would amend the Workforce Investment Act and establishes a new Industry or Sector Partnership Grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. Grants would allow recipients to establish or expand industry or sector partnerships that lead collaborative planning, resource alignment, and training efforts across multiple firms for current and potential workers within the targeted industry cluster. The bill must now be approved by the Senate. You can reach your Senator at (202) 224-3121 to voice your support.


DIPLOMA Act Aims to Increase College and Career Readiness

Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH) introduced S. 3595, the Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act which aims to strengthen student achievement and graduation rates and prepare young people for college, careers, and citizenship through innovative partnerships that meet the comprehensive needs of children and youth. States would receive funding that would be used in part to administer competitive grants to local consortia to assess community needs, coordinate existing funding streams, and provide services. Career technical education is specifically mentioned as a permissible of funds by the local consortia.

Among the other permissible use of funds allowed by this bill are multiple pathways to graduation (including dual enrollment programs, early college high schools, dropout prevention strategies, and dropout recovery strategies), job training, career counseling, and internship opportunities.


Senate Committee Looks at Veteran’s Bill

On Wednesday the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing to examine improvements to S. 3447, the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This bill would make changes to the Post-9/11 GI bill which currently provides education funding and benefits to veterans. S. 3447 would allow veterans to use their benefits at educational institutions that do not award associate or higher degrees. This would be a change from the current Post-9/11 GI Bill, which does not allow participants to use funds at a non-degree granting institution. This bill would allow veterans to attend postsecondary education institutions that do not grant associate or higher degrees, such as area career technical schools, career schools, and apprenticeship programs. The Committee is scheduled to hold a markup of pending legislation on August 5, 2010, during which Chairman Akaka (HI) intends to bring the bill up for a vote

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