On February 26, H.R. 803 – The Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, the Republican proposal to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), was introduced during a hearing of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce.
On March 6, the full House Education and the Workforce Committee met to mark up the bill; a mark up is when the Committee considers the proposal and any amendments, ultimately voting to pass the bill out of Committee prior to taking it to the House floor for a vote. The archived webcast of the hearing and the markup can be viewed respectively here and here.
The markup saw the Democratic members walk out in protest at their frustration over the perceived haste of the Republicans moving the bill through the legislative process. Another main area of contention was the Republican’s proposal to consolidate 35 funds into one Workforce Investment Fund. It should be noted that Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act funding is not included as one of the 35 consolidated funds, however the Democrats remain unconvinced over the merits of consolidation.
The bill is scheduled for debate on the House floor at some point this week and will be viewable online here. In addition to this, full summaries of the bills proposed by the Democrats and the Republicans can be found here on the National Skills Coalition website. If you have any questions on WIA reauthorization, or any other Career Technical Education matters, please do not hesitate to contact NASDCTEc at 301-588-9630.
The House voted Wednesday to pass H.R. 933, or the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act. The Continuing Resolution would fund government operations through the end of the fiscal year on September 30 commensurate to current spending levels post-sequestration.
The bill also grants some flexibility for the Pentagon to reallocate funds to higher priority programs, however the same flexibility is not being granted to non-defense discretionary spending. House Democrats criticized the bill for doing nothing to counter the negative impact sequestration would have on spending on social programs, however the bill passed the House 267 to 151. The bill now requires agreement in the Senate, before it receives passage to become an Act.
President Obama’s budget for FY14 has once again been postponed, with current projections for release targeting early to mid April. As outlined in a previous blog post, the President traditionally releases his budget by the first Monday of February, however due to the unconventional fiscal circumstances, there has been a continued delay in the plan being finalized and made public.
Counseling for Career Choice Act of 2013
Senator Begich (D-AK) recently introduced the Counseling for Career Choice Act of 2013 (S.282). The bill would provide funding to allow school counselors to emphasize not just four year college opportunities, but also to target career prospects like apprenticeships, certificate programs and other vocational or degree programs. The bill has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. We will be working closely with Senator Begich, and when the Committee considers the bill, a further update will be made available.
Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs Act
Representatives DeLauro (D-CT-3) and Jared Polis (D-CO-2) recently re-introduced the Women and Workforce and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs Act (H.R.951). The bill aims to fight gender inequity in the workplace and to give low-income women a pathway out of poverty by creating a federal grant program that would support innovative partnerships between community-based organizations, educational institutions and local businesses. A nontraditional job is one in which women comprise 25% or less of employees, and the bill hopes to boost the economy by reducing shortages of skilled workers in the labor market. NASDCTEc will work closely with Congress to ensure the perspective of the Career Technical Education community is well represented in deliberations over the bill.
David Beckett, Advocacy Manager