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Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Legislative Update: Senate Releases WIA Discussion Draft

CapitolClarification on ESEA Title I Supplement Not Supplant

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) sent a letter to Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) state Title I directors to clarify concerns around funding with regards to sequestration. ED noted that beginning July 1, 2013, many states and local education agencies (LEAs) will experience funding decreases due to sequestration and other budgetary factors.

The letter stated that, “ED understands that some LEAs have indicated a willingness to make up the difference in whole or in part with local funds in order to continue to provide a high-quality Title I program. However, many LEAs are concerned that they might violate the prohibition against supplanting if they replace the local contribution with Title I, Part A funds in a subsequent year.”

ED confirmed that LEAs taking this approach will not be considered in violation of the “Supplement Not Supplant” requirement.  The acceptance of this approach is relevant for Career Technical Education (CTE) because it could set a precedent for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) as states and locals seek to continue funding CTE programs despite any decreases in federal funding.

Senate WIA Discussion Draft

After holding a hearing on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) last week, the Senate released this week its first discussion draft for reauthorization of the legislation. While NASDCTEc was pleased with many components of the draft, such as its inclusion of career pathways throughout the bill and the removal of the sequence of services provision, we were concerned with a proposal to fund One Stop infrastructure and other activites directly from the state allocations of One Stop partner programs.

While only postsecondary Perkins programs offer training services as partners in the One Stop system under WIA, Perkins funding supports both secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, with the decision of how to split overall funding between secondary and postsecondary CTE made by each individual state. The 1.5 percent contribution proposed in the WIA draft would mean a loss of nearly $17 million overall that would then come from Perkins’ administrative funds, resulting in a 30 percent cut to the administrative funds that are available to most states.

This issue has been a longstanding one within WIA legislation and will likely continue to be a sticking point as Congress proceeds with WIA reauthorization. The Senate WIA proposal is only currently in draft form, and staff provided comments on the draft legislation and will continue to work with Senate staff on this issue.

Bill for Grant to Address Skills Gap Through Community Colleges and Businesses

Yesterday, Representative George Miller (D-CA) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) announced that they will soon introduce legislation intended to close the skills gap by developing and strengthening partnerships between community and technical colleges and business and industry.

The Community College to Career Fund Act would create a competitive grant program to encourage partnerships between two-year postsecondary institutions and business and industry. Partnerships would focus on creating job experiences, such as apprenticeships and on-the-job training, that allow participants to receive college credit while gaining hands-on experience. By preparing individuals with high-demand skills, the bill aims for businesses to locate and invest in the U.S. and for communities to maintain their local talent. Additional highlights of the Community College to Career Fund include:

  • The fund will support pathways entrepreneurship for 5 million small business owners over three years including a six-week online training course on entrepreneurship and an intensive six-month training program resulting in entrepreneurship certification for 100,000 small business owners.
  • The fund will help partnerships between two-year colleges and businesses train two million Americans for jobs in high-demand industries such as health care, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and information technology.

Representative Miller stated that, “Community colleges are essential in today’s economy to educate the workforce of the future – the registered nurses; the experts in the alternative energy sector; and the IT and cyber-security workers. This legislation will make critical investments in community colleges that will strengthen the middle class and enable America’s workforce to better compete in the global economy.” This bill appears to be similar to an initiative proposed by the Obama Administration early last year.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

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