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National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Legislative Update: Global Economy Act; Workforce Data Quality Campaign; CAREER Act

STEM Education for the Global Economy Act

Last week, Senator Merkley (D-OR) announced details for his STEM Education for the Global Economy Act. The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and would help improve instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects by:

  • Improving student engagement in and increasing student access to courses in STEM subjects.
  • Recruiting, training and supporting highly effective teachers in STEM subjects and providing robust tools and supports for students and teachers.
  • Closing student achievement gaps, and preparing more students to be on track for college and career readiness.

Many of the provisions in the bill link to our vision for CTE, especially in regard to our aim to ensure that the United States leads in global competitiveness. The bill would direct more money towards STEM, strives to prepare more students to be career ready, and increases professional development opportunities for teachers.

Inaugural Workforce Data Quality Campaign Meeting

Last week, NASDCTEc took part in the inaugural meeting of the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC).  NASDCTEc is an inaugural partner in the WDQC, in addition to the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Data Quality Campaign, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, the National Skills Coalition, and the New America Foundation. The WDQC promotes inclusive, aligned and market-relevant education and workforce data systems supported by state and federal policies. Some of the issues being examined by the WDQC include:

  • Promoting data systems that capture individual achievement in postsecondary degrees and industry-recognized credentials.
  • Expanding the use of information on individual participant outcomes and ensuring it is linked with the changing structure of the labor market.
  • Making data expectations clear and consistent across the pending reauthorizations of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), the Workforce Investment Act, the Higher Education Act, and ESEA.

This exciting initiative will shape the future of CTE data and accountability, and regular updates on progress will be shared with members. The aims of the WDQC initiative link very closely with our vision, through our support of federal policies that make the collection of nationally comparable, valid and reliable data possible and efficient; and our support of aligning data requirements and accountability measures among federal education and workforce preparation programs.

CAREER Act

Senators Bennet (D-CO) and Portman (R-OH) last week reintroduced the Career Through Responsive, Efficient, and Effective Retraining (CAREER) Act S.804. According to the bill summary, S. 804 aims to make federal job training programs more responsive to the needs of employers, more efficient with taxpayer dollars, and more effective in connecting the unemployed with highly paid jobs by:

1.      Reorganizing the Federal Government’s training programs to make them more efficient, by working with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to produce a report detailing how to decrease the number of federal job training programs without decreasing services or accessibility, using a 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report as a template.The GAO report lists Perkins as one of the funds that could be consolidated.

2.      Giving community colleges, CTE institutions, and other key educators priority access for funding that equips workers with the credentials that are in demand by industry.

3.      Introducing accountability to job training through a pay-for-performance pilot program.

4.      Providing states and local stakeholders with access to the data they need to track the impact of their programs.

The bill would amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). A reauthorized version of WIA was recently passed in the House, and the Senate is currently working on their proposal to reauthorize the Act. As such, it is not clear how the CAREER Act will fit into this reauthorization process. Watch for more updates on the NASDCTEc blog as the CAREER Act progresses to Committee and more details are available.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

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