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Legislative Update: FY12 Draft Suballocations, Urban Jobs, Investing in Innovation, Hiring Heroes

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers released a draft of suballocations for FY12. These suballocations are the spending limits for each of the appropriations subcommittees. The Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (commonly referred to as Labor-HHS-Ed) sets the funding levels for all education, including Perkins, and workforce related programs. The proposed spending limits for Labor-HHS-Ed are 11.6 percent below the FY2011 amount and 23 percent below the President’s FY2012 budget.

According to Rogers’ FY12 markup schedule, the Labor-HHS-Ed bill will be the second-to-last markup with the subcommittee markup on July 26 and the full committee markup on August 2. The Labor-HHS-Ed bill will reach the House floor in September at the earliest before it eventually moves to the Senate.

It will be essential for all CTE advocates to take the next few months to make a concerted, consistent and broad-based effort to let Congressional leaders know the importance of Perkins funding. NASDCTEc is launching an aggressive advocacy plan during the summer months and will be rolling out opportunities and resources for you to use in your efforts to raise visibility and support for CTE and Perkins funding.

Urban Jobs Act

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced S. 922, the Urban Jobs Act, to increase employment opportunities for at-risk youth. The bill, an amendment to the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, would authorize the Secretary of Labor to provide grants for urban job programs. Nonprofit organizations would receive funding to carry out programs to prepare youth for employment, especially high school dropouts or youth who have had any encounters with the criminal justice system.

Investing in Innovation for Education Act

Sen. Mark Begich (AK) introduced S. 895, the Investing in Innovation for Education Act (also known as the “i3” bill), to promote innovative ideas proposed by school districts and organizations that show a record of increasing student achievement. Begich proposes to make permanent the i3 competitive grants funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The new bill has a special focus on rural areas, requiring 25 percent of funding to go to grantees from rural areas. Begich suggests that the bill will “level the playing field” by giving students the chance to benefit from innovation regardless of where they live.

Hiring Heroes Act of 2011

Sen. Patty Murray (WA) and 14 co-sponsoring Senators introduced S. 951, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, to address the high unemployment rate (over 27 percent) among young veterans and to help them find work. Senator Murray stated that, “For the first time, this bill will require that our service members get the training they need to translate the skills they learned in the military into the working world.” The bill would require broad job skills training and a transition assistance program requirement for returning service members. The bill would also create new direct federal hiring authority to provide jobs for returning service members when they leave the military, and veteran mentorship programs would be improved.

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