Legislative Update: National Apprenticeship Act Reauthorization and Senate FAFSA Hearing

September 18th, 2020

This week, the House Committee on Education and Labor introduced the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020. Read below to learn more about what is included in this bill, a Senate hearing on student financial aid and the extended deadline for postsecondary institutions to receive stimulus funding. 

House Introduces National Apprenticeship Act 

On Thursday, the Democrats of the House Committee on Education and Labor released a proposal to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act. The new bill, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, would invest $3.5 billion in Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships over five years, and develop approximately 1 million new apprenticeships. The Act authorizes $400 million in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) with annual increases of $100 million, up to $800 million in FY25. Additionally, this would codify the role of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship, codify the role of State Apprenticeship Agencies and create an interagency agreement between DOL and the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The full Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Thursday, September 24, 2020. 

A fact sheet on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 can be found here, a section-by-section summary here and the full bill text here

Senate Holds Hearing on FAFSA Reform

Earlier this week the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a “Time to Finish Fixing the FAFSA” hearing. HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has long advocated for updating the complicated and burdensome Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. After announcing his retirement from Congress, Senator Alexander is continuing to push for FAFSA simplification to be completed before he moves on. 

Witnesses for the hearing included: Kim Cook, Executive Director of the National College Attainment Network; Rachelle Feldman, Associate Provost and Director of Scholarships and Student Aid for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Kristin Hultquist, Founding Partner of HCM Strategists; Dr. Bridget Terry Long, Dean and Saris Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Dr. Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College of Columbia University. 

ED Announces Extension for Higher Education CARES Act Funding

ED reopened the application period for funding under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that is authorized through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The department opened back up the application process through September 30, 2020. Postsecondary institutions can apply for funding at grants.gov. Additional details can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: House Passes Appropriations Bill and Senate Introduces Stimulus Package

July 31st, 2020

This week, the full House voted on Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) proposal. Read below to learn more about what was included in this bill and next steps, as well the newly introduced stimulus bill from Senate Republicans and the recipients of the Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant.  

Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bill Passes in the House

Today, the House passed an FY21 appropriations minibus, or grouping of appropriations bills, on party lines. This $1.3 trillion package (H.R. 7617) included the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill, which provides an increase of approximately $716 million for federal education programs and an increase of approximately $254 million for federal labor programs. This bill increases the Perkins Basic State Grant by about $18 million, or 1.4%, bringing the total amount of funding to about $1.3 billion. There are six appropriations bills that make up this minibus, in addition to Labor-HHS-Ed, the package also includes: Defense; Commerce, Justice and Science; Energy and Water Development; Financial Services; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. A summary of the full bill can be found here

Next, the Senate will introduce and vote on their own appropriations bills, which can be expected to differ from what was passed in the House. Ultimately, the House, Senate and administration must come to an agreement on FY21 federal funding.

Senate Releases Stimulus Bill Proposal
Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here

On Monday evening, Senate Republicans released the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protections, and Schools Act (HEALS Act), an approximately trillion-dollar proposal for the next round of relief funding aimed at quelling the economic and public health crisis ignited by the pandemic.

Some of the larger provisions of the HEALS Act include $200 per week in unemployment insurance, down from $600 in the previously enacted CARES Act, another round of stimulus checks, liability protection for businesses and schools, an additional round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, among other measures.

More specifically for education, the proposal calls for $105 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund, authorizes Emergency Education Freedom Scholarships, consolidates the nine current student loan repayment plans into two, and provides various emergency waiver authority to the Secretary for federal programs, including the Perkins Act. Of the $105 billion, the Elementary and Secondary Education fund would receive $70 billion, with two-thirds of that conditioned on local education agencies meeting certain requirements around reopening. Higher education institutions would receive $29 billion with funding being allotted based on the number of Pell Grant recipients. The last $5 billion would go to the Governors’ Emergency Relief Fund, which can be used for any emergency grants for any part of education. Although the proposal does not include dedicated funding for CTE programs, they are included in the allowable use of funds for money allocated to the Education Stabilization Fund.

Additionally, the bill authorizes additional funding for various workforce development activities.  The appropriations package provides a total of $950 million in the Department of Labor for adult and youth training programs.

This proposal will serve as the Senate Republicans opening bid with Democrats, who will most certainly seek to make changes prior to any relief proposal being signed into law. Democratic leadership in both chambers have voiced serious concerns with the proposal, saying that it “falls short of what is needed to help with the coronavirus recession.” Democrats will seek to include hazard pay for essential workers, further address the looming eviction crisis, provide additional funding for social safety programs, and have serious concerns with the conditioning school funding to physical re-opening and liability protection provisions. It is expected for negotiations to start immediately and could potentially drag out into August, forcing Congress to work through a portion of their recess.

We are continuing to advocate for these critical resources directly for CTE and workforce programs to be included in the next relief package to ensure learners are prepared for labor market needs, particularly as the economy begins to rebuild after the pandemic. We need your help quickly to emphasize this message with Congress as the congressional leaders come together in negotiations. Click here to ask your Members of Congress to support the inclusion of funds for CTE, as provided in the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act, in the next relief package.

Education Department Awards Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant 

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that 11 states will receive over $180 million in new grant funding through the Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant. This initiative will support states in serving their students during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic through new and innovative strategies. The participating states are Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, and award amounts range from $6 million to $20 million. This program is through the Education Stabilization Fund of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: House Continues Appropriations Process and Administration Announces New Initiative

July 17th, 2020

This week, the House Appropriations Committee marked up and passed the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill. Read below to learn more about what was included in this bill and next steps, as well as a new campaign from the administration that supports skills-based training.  

House Passes Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bill

On Monday evening the House Appropriations Committee marked up and passed the FY21 Labor-HHS-Ed funding bill on party lines. This bill included an increase of approximately $716 million for federal education programs and an increase of approximately $254 million for federal labor programs. This proposal would provide an increase of $18 million, or 1.4%, to the Perkins Basic State Grant, bringing the total amount of funding to about $1.3 billion. Some other notable provisions of the bill  include: 

  • An increase of $10 million for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) State Grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); 
  • An increase of $150 to maximum Pell Grant awards; 
  • An increase of $49 million for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs); 
  • An increase of $20 million for Federal Work-Study; 
  • An increase of $15 million to Federal TRIO and GEAR Up programs; 
  • An increase of $50 million for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Grants; 
  • An increase of $10 million for registerested apprenticeships; and
  • An increase of $10 million for the Strengthening Community College Training Grants.

The House also released the full report on the Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill this week. Next, this bill will go to the full House of Representatives for votes. The Senate also needs to go through this process, and will introduce, markup and vote on their own appropriations proposals. 

Administration Announces “Find Something New” Campaign

Written by Hannah Neeper, Policy Research Analyst, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). The original post can be found here

The White House has released its long awaited ad campaign “Find Something New” as an effort to encourage people who are unemployed or unsatisfied in their current occupation to find a pathway to a new job or career. The campaign is a product of  the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, created in 2018, in collaboration with the Ad Council, IBM, Apple and members of the Business Roundtable, and a number of other partners. 

This ad campaign seeks to meet the need for skills-based training as an alternative to four-year degree programs in order for workers to find jobs. This ad campaign is accompanied by a companion website. The website provides resources ranging from self-assessments to professional development, and links to education and training options. A number of videos are also available that may be useful for students as they engage in career development activities. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: House Begins Appropriations Process and President Campaign Addresses CTE

July 10th, 2020

This week the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies released a Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bill, which includes funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). Read below to learn more about this bill, as well as the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations for the 2020 presidential campaign. 

House Proposes Increase for Fiscal Year 2021 CTE Funding 

Written by Alisha Hyslop, Senior Director of Public Policy, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here

On July 6, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bill. According to the Committee’s press release, the bill includes “$196.5 billion in overall funding, an increase of $2.4 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $20.8 billion above the President’s 2021 budget request after accounting for offsets and adjustments.” Policymakers were limited to the approximately 1.22% increase due to statutory budget caps that had been agreed to by both chambers last year.

However, even with this very modest overall increase, there was some good news for CTE in the bill! While the funding level proposed for Perkins does not match the amount suggested by the Administration earlier this year, the bill proposes an $18 million, or 1.4% increase for the Perkins basic state grant, bringing its total funding level to approximately $1.3 billion.

Under the Department of Labor, the bill also includes small increases for WIOA state grant programs, registered apprenticeships and Strengthening Community College Training Grants, among other programs, with a total budget of $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration (a $187 million increase) and $12.7 billion overall (a $254 million increase).

This is the first official congressional step toward funding these programs for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The process has been significantly delayed due to attention on the pandemic response, but is now expected to move forward relatively quickly in the House. The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the bill on July 7, and the full Appropriations Committee will consider it on Monday. House leaders have expressed interest in passing all 12 appropriations bills, including this one, on the House floor before the August recess. The process remains stalled in the Senate however, so it is likely one or more continuing resolutions will be needed to extend funding at the end of the fiscal year.

While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn’t come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, particularly as a result of the pandemic, it is a solid first step in this process considering restrictive budget caps. We will continue to work with Congress on appropriations bills and on the next COVID-19 response package to advocate for more resources to ensure all students have access to high-quality CTE programs. 

Biden Announces Unity Task Force Recommendations

This week, former Vice President Joe Biden released new policy recommendations as part of his presidential campaign platform. These recommendations were developed through joint task forces that included Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and supporters of his most recent presidential campaign. The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations include policy proposals on issues such as climate change, criminal justice reform and health care. The proposals also cover education, workforce development and the economy- including CTE strategies. The document states that the campaign “will work to expand access to career and technical education” and that the country’s education system should support deeper learning and life skills. CTE, and apprenticeships in particular, are also listed as a way to increase opportunities for lifelong learning. The Education Unity Task Force, comprised of eight education experts and advocates, specifically recommends that education funding allow for the scaling of CTE.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: Final Perkins V Plans Approved and New Senate Coronavirus Relief Bill Introduced

July 3rd, 2020

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved all remaining state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Read below to learn more about plan approval and where you can find final materials, as well as a new COVID-19 (coronavirus) response bill that would provide Career Technical Education (CTE) funding and an Executive Order that supports skills-based hiring. 

ED Approves All Perkins V State Plans

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the final state plans under Perkins V were approved by ED. The newest wave of approvals includes Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and West Virginia. Secretary DeVos also shared that nine states submitted combined Perkins V and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state plans, including: Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington. Highlights from the newly approved plans can be found here. Check out Advance CTE’s website for links to all final plans and resources!

Senate Introduces Coronavirus Relief Bill with CTE Funding

Ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced a new coronavirus relief bill this week. The Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) would provide $430 billion to child care and education activities. 

The proposed act would allocate $1 billion for CTE programs and activities to support state and local CTE needs as a result of the pandemic. This can include updates to physical or digital infrastructure, or expansion of work-based learning supports. The bill includes $345 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund- comprised of $175 billion for K-12 schools, $132 billion for higher education and $33 billion for a Governor’s Fund. Additionally, CCCERA would provide $4 billion to the Federal Communication Commission’s E-Rate program to increase internet access for students and educators. 

Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill, and released a statement in partnership with the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) in response to the introduction. A summary of CCCERA can be found here and the full bill text here

Administration Signs Executive Order on Skills-Based Hiring

President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring Federal Job Candidates, stating that the federal hiring process will take a skills-based approach instead of relying on degree attainment. The document requires that the federal job classification and qualification standards be reviewed and revised. Within 120 days all changes will be made available to the public, and updates will go into effect within 180 days. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: More Perkins Plans Approved and New Grant Opportunity

June 26th, 2020

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced more state plan approvals under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Read below to learn more about which states have received approval, as well as a new workforce grant program, a proposed infrastructure bill and a new report on reimagining community colleges. 

ED Approves Four More Perkins Plans

Today the U.S. Department of Education approved four more state plans under Perkins V. The newly approved states are Arkansas, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee. Highlights by the department from each plan can be found here. In total, 35 plans have been approved so far. A full list of the states with approved plans, as well as links to the final plans and resources can be found here

ED Announces New Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant Program

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a new higher education grant program with the goal of supporting students in gaining new skills and expanding or reinventing businesses as a result of COVID-19 (coronavirus). This new opportunity, called the Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant Program, is funded by the Education Stabilization Fund that was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act- the third coronavirus stimulus bill that was signed into law in March. 

The State Workforce Board of each of the 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico are eligible to apply for this grant program. Applicants must show that a burden has been created by the pandemic, and propose an initiative that will support the community in one of two ways (language taken directly from the department’s announcement): 

  1. Expanding educational opportunities through short-term, career pathways or sector-based education and training programs
    • Grantees are invited to propose the development or expansion of short-term education programs, including career pathways programs, to help prepare unemployed or underemployed individuals for high demand jobs in their community or region; and/or
    • Grantees are invited to propose the development or expansion of industry sector-based education and training programs that lead to a credential that employers in a given sector recognize and reward; or
  2. Supporting local entrepreneurship through small business incubators
    • Grantees are invited to submit applications that help colleges and universities make their faculty, staff and facilities more accessible to small businesses in their communities, and to ensure that institutions can sustain their operations at a time when enrollments are declining and campus buildings may be underutilized, including through the creation of small business incubators that are on the campus of, or affiliated with, one or more colleges and universities in the state.

Applications must be submitted by August 24, 2020- at which time they will be evaluated by peer reviewers. Awards will be announced in October of 2020.  

House Introduces New Infrastructure Bill

House Democrats introduced the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2)- a $1.5 trillion bill that would repair and rebuild the country’s infrastructure. This wide reaching proposal covers a range of areas from road to schools to broadband access. The Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act is included in this legislation, and would invest $130 billion in high-poverty schools while also creating over two million jobs. The bill would also invest $100 billion into expanding broadband Internet access to every part of the country. 

A fact sheet of the bill can be found here and the full text here

Education Organizations Release New Report on Reimagining Community College

Advance CTE participated in a group of 22 educators and policy thinkers led by Opportunity America to release a new report, The Indispensable Institution: Reimagining Community College. The report outlines a roadmap for community colleges to find successful practices as  premier providers of efficient, career-focused education and training. Especially as the country rebuilds in the wake of coronavirus, community colleges are well positioned to provide the upskilling and reskilling that millions of Americans will need. You can find the report here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: Perkins V State Plans Approved and Higher Education Emergency Grant Guidance

June 12th, 2020

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved 10 more state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Read below to learn about which states are approved, the new interim guidance regarding eligibility requirements for higher education students to receive emergency funding, as well as hearings on remote learning and reopening schools. 

ED Approves 10 More Perkins V State Plans

Today U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that 10 more states’ Perkins V four-year plans were approved. The newly approved states include Arizona, DC, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. Highlights from each plan can be found here. The department has now approved 25 state plans. Advance CTE is tracking approval and links to final plans here

ED Publishes Rule for Emergency Relief Grants to Higher Education Students

Secretary DeVos shared the updated regulations for eligibility of students receiving Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants from an institution of higher education through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This guidance doubles down on ED’s April position, and states that students must be eligible for Title IV aid under the Higher Education Act (HEA) to receive this emergency funding. Following the initial guidance, Advance CTE in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) sent a letter to ED with concerns about these exclusions. The CARES Act does not specify that students must be Title IV-eligible to receive HEERF grants. 

The department has said that it will not retroactively enforce this rule for grant funding that has already been distributed by colleges. 

This interim final rule is expected to be added to the Federal Register on June 15, 2020 and will then be open for a 30 day comment period. 

Congress Holds Hearing on Returning to School

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing on “Going Back to School Safely,” to discuss how to reopen K-12 schools. There was agreement across the Committee that schools should reopen as soon as safely possible, and that attention must be paid to the education gaps that are being exacerbated during the pandemic. Witnesses included: Dr. Penny Schwinn, Tennessee Commissioner of Education; Dr. Matthew Blomstedt, Nebraska Commissioner of Education; Susana Cordova, Superintendent of Denver Public Schools; and the Honorable John B. King, Jr., President and CEO of the Education Trust. The full video and testimonies from this hearing can be found here

This follows a HELP hearing last week that focused on “Going Back to College Safely”- the full video and testimonies of that hearing can be found here. Witnesses included: Mitchell Daniels, President of Purdue University; Dr. Christina Paxson, President of Brown University; Dr.Logan Hampton, President of Lane College; and Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. 

ED Holds Forum on K-12 Remote Learning 

Earlier this week ED hosted a virtual forum with K-12 education leaders to discuss challenges and successes. The educators represented students in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. They discussed the learning curve that teachers and students simultaneously experienced during the abrupt transition to online learning. Strategies were also shared such as including activities that do not require electronics in a lesson plan.  A full readout of the forum can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: First Perkins Plans Approved and Federal Response to COVID-19

May 22nd, 2020

The first round of approved state Perkins V plans were announced today. Read below to learn about which states were granted approvals, as well as the continuing federal response to COVID-19 and the 2020 Presidential Scholars. 

ED Approves First Round or Perkins State Plans

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that the first six state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) have been approved. Perkins V was signed into law on July 31, 2018. Since then, states have submitted and implemented one-year transition plans. Now, states are awaiting approval of the full four-year state plan. The six approved states are Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. ED provides a few highlights from each plan here

Stimulus Package Passes in the House

Late May 15, the House passed a new stimulus bill in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800) is a $3 trillion relief package that includes measures such as funding for state and local governments, support for Coronavirus research, unemployment assistance, an additional round of individual direct payments and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program. 

The HEROES Act also includes $100.15 billion for education, comprised of $90 billion in formula grants to states for K-12 education and $10.15 billion for higher education. It also provides $3.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Labor, with $2 billion allocated for worker training. 

This bill has some of the Career Technical Education (CTE) provisions that were in the previously introduced Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (RAWA), which Advance CTE supports. Specifically, the HEROES Act includes:

  • Flexibility at the state and local levels during the pandemic for retention of funds so that funds not used during the 2019-2020 school year because of Coronavirus can be retained; 
  • Flexibility for local Perkins recipients to pool funds for supporting secondary to postsecondary or employment transitions for CTE students whose academic year was changed because of Coronavirus; and 
  • Waives some of the professional development requirements during the pandemic. 

However, the HEROES Act does not include CTE-specific funding (which was also part of RAWA). All educational programs have been impacted by Coronavirus, and CTE programs are no exception. CTE programs are also expected to play an important role in economic recovery, especially to reskill and upskill individuals. It is imperative that secondary, postsecondary and adult CTE learners are able to access high-quality CTE programs during the pandemic.  

Next, the Senate will take up the HEROES Act. However, the Senate has conveyed that it will not happen until after the Memorial Day recess at the earliest. In the meantime, we encourage you to let your representative know that you support including the full RAWA CTE related pieces in the next Coronavirus relief bill by following the quick prompt here.

Senate Introduces Broadband Bill

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY, Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020– which has 36 cosponsors. This bill would allocate $4 billion to ensuring that all K-12 students have internet access during Coronavirus through the E-Rate program. Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

Legislative Update: New Stimulus Introduced and Grant Opportunity Announced

May 15th, 2020

This week, the House introduced a new COVID-19 (Coronavirus) stimulus package. Read below to learn more about what is in this bill, as well as a new grant opportunity. 

House Introduces New Stimulus Package in Response to the Coronavirus 

On Tuesday, House Democrats introduced a new stimulus package in response to the Coronavirus- the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800). The $3 trillion relief bill encompasses a large scope of activities, such as funding to state and local governments, small business assistance and funding for Coronavirus research. 

The HEROES Act also includes $90 billion for an education stabilization fund that would go to K-12 and public institutions of higher education. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) is one of the allowable uses of funds. Approximately $58 billion from the education stabilization fund would be allocated to K-12 education, with approximately $27 billion going to public postsecondary. An additional $10.15 billion is also in the HEROES Act for higher education- this funding can go to all institutions of higher education, and allocates $1.7 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.   

This bill includes some of the Career Technical Education (CTE) provisions that were in the previously introduced Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (RAWA)- which Advance CTE supports. Specifically, the HEROES Act offers the flexibility at the state and local levels for retention of funds for the 2019-2020 academic year and the flexibility for local Perkins recipients to pool funds, as well as waives some of the professional development requirements during Coronavirus- that were all proposed in RAWA. 

However, Advance CTE was disappointed to find that the $1 billion for CTE-specific programs was left out of the HEROES Act. Advance CTE, in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee leadership detailing the importance of including CTE-specific funding and expressing concern that this was not included in the HEROES Act. We encourage you to let your representative know that you support including the full RAWA CTE related pieces in the next Coronavirus relief bill by following the quick prompt here

The House is expected to vote on the bill later this afternoon. The full bill text can be found here, a summary here and the manager’s amendment here

ED Announces New Grant Opportunity Through Student Support and Academic Enrichment

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS) recently released a new opportunity to apply for the Expanding Course Access Demonstration Grants Program. This program will provide grants to state education agencies (SEAs) to provide models of well-rounded educational opportunities through course-access programs. The grant program is created with funding though the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)- specifically Title IV Part A that authorized the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants program (SSAE). The SSAE grant program is used to support well-rounded educational opportunities- which includes CTE. 

Grant applications must be submitted by June 26, 2020. OSSS, in collaboration with the Title IV, Part A Technical Assistance Center, will be holding a webinar on May 20, 2020 from 2:00-3:00pm ET for those considering applying. You can register for the webinar here. The webinar will be recorded and available for public view here

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: CTE and Workforce Development in the Next Stimulus Bill and Reporting the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

May 8th, 2020

The federal government continues to work on the next COVID-19 (Coronavirus) stimulus bill and provide guidance on previous ones. Read below to learn more about how Career Technical Education (CTE) can be included in a future Coronavirus package and new information about reporting use of funds for the third stimulus. 

Analysis Continues of the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act

Last week, Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (RAWA), which Advance CTE is in full support. This bill provides funding and flexibilities for CTE and workforce development programs during Coronavirus with a $15 billion investment that includes $1 billion for CTE programs and activities, as well as $2 billion to re-implement the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. Last week’s Legislative Update outlined many of the major provisions of RAWA, including the implications for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and some of the flexibilities for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). 

Some of the additional standout WIOA activities include: 

  • $2.5 billion for employers to provide incumbent worker training;
  • $500 million for states and intermediaries to support existing or expand registered apprenticeships; 
  • $500 million for National Dislocated Worker Grants, to go to training and temporary employment as a result of Coronavirus;
  • $2.5 billion for State Dislocated Worker Grants, to be used for necessary rapid response through Fiscal Year 2022; 
  • $2.5 billion for employers who are offering incumbent worker training; 
  • Increasing the percent of funds that local workforce boards can use for transitional jobs to 40 percent; and 
  • The Governor and local workforce boards can include Coronavirus as a consideration when deciding whether to allow 75 percent of wages to be reimbursed during participation in on-the-job training. 

The WIOA and Perkins V funds in RAWA must be used to supplement, and not supplant state or local funds. If this bill passes, it is imperative to carefully document that the use of funds is supplement and not supplant especially since it can be expected that Coronavrisu will change typical state and local funding structures.

The full programmatic funding breakdown included in RAWA is as follows: 

  • National Dislocated Worker Grants: $500 million;
  • State Dislocated Worker Grants: $2.5 billion;
  • Youth Workforce Investment Activities: $2.5 billion;
  • Adult Employment and Training Activities: $2.5 billion; 
  • Wagner-Peyser/Employment Service: $1 billion;
  • Job Corps: $500 million;
  • Native American Programs: $150 million;
  • Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers: $150 million;
  • YouthBuild: $250 million;
  • Reentry and Employment Opportunities: $350 million;
  • Registered Apprenticeships: $500 million;
  • Adult Education and Literacy: $1 billion;
  • Community College and Industry Partnership Grants: $2 billion;
  • Department of Labor Administration: $90 million;
  • Career Technical Education: $1 billion; and
  • Department of Education Administration: $10 million.

You can view the press release highlighting our full support of RAWA from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) here. We encourage you to  let your representative know that you support including CTE in the next Coronavirus relief bill by following the quick prompt here. The full bill can be viewed here and a summary of each section here

Department Announces that Colleges Must Publicly Share Use of Stimulus Funds

The U.S. Department of Education announced that institutions receiving Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) – authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – must report information about the funds on a publicly accessible website. The public-facing report must include how much money the institution received, how many students are receiving Emergency Financial Aid grants, how the institution decided which students would receive these grants and any directives that were attached to the funding. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

 

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