Legislative Update: ESEA, Education Jobs Fund, Clean Energy Works Act

ESEA Reauthorization Unlikely This Year

An article in Wednesday’s Washington Post sums up what we have been piecing together for some time — ESEA will probably not be reauthorized this year. While the President has made education a top priority and Congress has held hearings and is working behind the scenes to hammer out a bipartisan bill, progress has been slow and the upcoming elections make Congress wary of moving such a controversial piece of legislation. Former Secretary of Education and Republican Senator on the HELP Committee, Lamar Alexander (TN) does not think we will see a bill this year: “I’d say time is up,” Alexander said Tuesday. “I don’t see it happening.” In an interview with the National Journal the same day, Chairman George Miller (CA) of the House Ed and Labor Committee said that he and Ranking Member John Kline (MN) have agreed to work through August on a bill and want to be ready when the opportunity arises to introduce it. Only time will tell what Congress will do, but we will keep you posted on any new developments.

Education Jobs Fund Stripped from Supplemental

While the House voted earlier this month to include the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill, the Senate lacked the votes to include the fund in their version of the supplemental. As a result, House Democrats have accepted the Senate’s plan to pass a stripped-down supplemental bill and are seeking another vehicle for the Education Jobs Fund.

Clean Energy Works Act

Sen. Patty Murray (WA) recently introduced S. 3631, the Clean Energy Works Act which would help prepare workers for clean energy careers. In addition to expanding the State Energy Program and making investments in national clean energy research, the bill would provide grants to clean energy companies for job training:

  • Regional Energy Alliance Skills Grants:  Competitive grants to producers of low-carbon producing energy industries in states or multi-state regions to educate, train, hire, and retain the skilled workers they need to grow their ability to provide energy at scale.
  • Regional Industry Energy Efficiency Grants: Competitive grants to industries that are high energy consumers (such as within manufacturing) to train or retrain workers to have the skills necessary to reduce their energy use through the use of new equipment, new practices, or other means.
  • Customized Renewable Energy Training Grants: Competitive grants to single companies either in the low-carbon producing energy industry, or an industry that supports such an industry, to provide the training necessary to have the skilled workforce to be competitive.  These grants need individual company needs, especially to companies that may not be in a regional cluster of similar companies in an industry.

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