President Obama yesterday released his budget for FY14 which detailed his vision and priorities for the year. Career Technical Education (CTE) played a significant part in his proposals, in the U.S. Department of Education (summarized yesterday on our blog) , the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The budget details a $12.1 billion investment for discretionary spending in the DOL, which is a 3.2 percent, or $400 million, decrease from the current fiscal year. The delayed release of the President’s budget, which is traditionally released in February, will likely mean it holds less influence than it normally would because the House and the Senate have already passed their own budgets, but it is still very important. Below are key elements of the budget proposal that would impact CTE. A more detailed summary of the DOL’s proposed budget can be found here.
Impact of Proposed Budget on CTE: U.S. Department of Labor
$8 Billion for a Community College to Career Fund: The budget calls for $4 billion in mandatory spending under the DOL for a Community College to Career Fund to begin in FY15. An additional $4 billion would be authorized under the U.S. Department of Education and the program would be jointly administered by both federal agencies. The fund would aim to:
- Forge new partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train two million workers for high-paying jobs in high-growth and high-demand industries such as health care, transportation and advanced manufacturing.
- Emphasize strong employer engagement in the development of postsecondary programs to ensure that programs deliver students that meet employer needs. The Community College to Career Fund would provide support for regional or national industry sectors to develop skills consortia that will identify pressing workforce needs.
- Expand work-based training and other “earn and learn” opportunities that allow students to earn credit while gaining relevant employment experience in a high-wage, high-skill field. It also aims to promote and expand efforts to make data on student outcomes, including employment and earning, available by program of study.
$3.4 billion for Training and Employment Services: This funding includes programs and policy changes intended to spur innovation in the way training is delivered for workers. Aspects of this program that would impact CTE include:
- $150 million for the Workforce Innovation Fund. The Workforce Innovation Fund tests new ideas from states and regions to drive forward systemic reforms and to replicate evidence-based strategies for training and helping workers find jobs. Within the fund, $10 million is dedicated to building knowledge about which interventions are most effective for disconnected youth, and the DOL would continue to work with agencies that support educational and employment strategies.
- $80 million set aside for Workforce Investment Act formula grants for states. This funding would increase the statewide reserve allocation from 5 percent to 7.5 percent without reducing the amount of funding allocated to local areas.
- $6 million for the Workforce Data Quality Initiative. This funding would be used to support up to six states in expanding their workforce data systems. The funding aims to support the development or expansion of longitudinal administrative databases that would integrate workforce data and link to education data from pre-K through postsecondary education and the workforce.
Impact of Proposed Budget on CTE: U.S. Department of Commerce
$1 billion for Regional Manufacturing Innovation Institutes: A one-off investment of $1 billion has been included to create up to 15 Regional Manufacturing Innovation Institutes that would bring together companies, universities, government, and community colleges to invest in the development of cutting-edge manufacturing. Leveraging the strengths of a particular region, the Institutes will be based on a pilot launched in Youngstown, Ohio, in August 2012.
David Beckett, Advocacy Manager