Legislation Update: National Apprenticeship Act Reauthorization and New Data Tool from ED

November 20th, 2020

News this Week:

This week, the House passed a bill to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act. Read below to learn more about this bill, as well as a new online portal to track education stimulus funding, a summary from a convening on work-based learning and Advance CTE’s priorities for the new administration. 

House Passes National Apprenticeship Act 

The House passed a bill earlier today, mainly on party lines, that would reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act (H.R. 8294). This bill would: 

  • Authorize $400 million for FY21, increasing by $100 million every year up to $800 million in FY25; 
  • Codify and streamline standards for registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeships; 
  • Codify existing regulations and practices for equitable participation and increased diversity in apprenticeship programs; 
  • Codify the roles and responsibilities of the DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship; 
  • Codify the roles and responsibilities of the State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs); and
  • Strengthen the connection between the DOL and U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

There were many amendments that were adopted into this bill, including one from Co-Chair of the Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) that would provide stipends to those in a pre-apprenticeship program. 

It is unlikely that this bill will move in the Senate during the remainder of this Congress. 

Advance CTE is pleased to endorse the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020.

ED Releases Virtual Platform to Track CARES Act Funding 

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a new online portal to track if and how states, local education agencies and institutions of higher education are using funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The interactive data map shows how funding through the Education Stabilization Fund of the CARES Act was allocated to each state, as well as a breakdown by state of money for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund. All data included in the portal was reported by September 30, 2020. 

ED Holds Event on Rethinking Work-Based Learning

Last week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office for Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) convened education, workforce and business leaders for a “Rethink Work-Based Learning” discussion. OCTAE Assistant Secretary Scott Stump moderated the event and encouraged increasing work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities. A full readout from the event can be found here

Advance CTE Shares Priorities for the Administration 

This week Advance CTE published transition priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration. These priorities respond to the short and long term needs of the CTE community.

In order to achieve a full, equitable economic recovery and ensure that every learner has access to high-quality Career Technical Education, the next Administration must:

  • Embrace and promote CTE as a valued pathway for learners.
  • Make CTE a central part of the Administration’s economic recovery strategy.
  • Promote inter-connected education and workforce development systems.
  • Eliminate structures that embed systemic racism in education and workforce programs.
  • Ensure that states are fully supported in the implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act during COVID-19, including CTE-designated funding and statutory flexibility and waivers.
  • Attend to CTE-related challenges and supports during COVID-19 response and recovery.
  • Double the federal investment in CTE to respond to the need and demand for high-quality CTE.
  • Expand Pell Grant eligibility.

It is important to note that this transition planning is technically still informal, as the General Services Administration (GSA) has not begun the formal transfer of power or authorized transition funding to be used by the Biden-Harris team. 

The full recommendations can be found here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bills and Panel with Federal CTE Leadership

November 13th, 2020

This week, the Senate introduced Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills. Read below to learn more about what this means for education and workforce funding, as well as a panel discussion about the history and future outlook of Career Technical Education (CTE) and the start of administration transition planning. 

Senate Introduces Fiscal Year 2021 Funding Bills

Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here.
As Congress returned this week for the lame duck session, one of the most critical items on the agenda before the end of the year is the passage of Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills. As one step toward finalizing these bills, on November 10, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its long-awaited draft FY21 appropriations bill. According to the Committee’s highlights document, the proposal includes $184.47 billion in overall funding, with $73.2 billion of the proposed discretionary spending for the Department of Education, which would be an increase of $433 million or 0.9% over FY20 enacted levels. 

Even with this very modest overall increase, there was some very good news for CTE in the bill! The bill proposes an $75 million, or 5.8% increase for the Perkins Basic State Grant over the FY20 enacted levels, bringing its total proposed funding level to approximately $1.36 billion. This is $57 million more than the funding level included in the appropriations bill passed by the House in July. 

Below are some additional funding levels proposed in the bill: 

  • CTE National programs: $7.42 million, level funded from FY20 level 
  • Federal Work-Study: $1.18 billion, level funded from FY20 level 
  • Adult Education: $671 million, level funded from FY20 level 
  • DoL Training and Employment Services programs: $3.585 billion, a decrease from $3.611 billion in FY20 
  • Career Pathways for Youth Grants: $10 million, level funded from FY20 level 
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants: $2.132 billion, level funded from FY20 level 
  • ESSA Title IVA Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $1.25 billion, an increase of $40 million from FY20 level 
  • Pell Grants: $6,495 for the maximum award, an increase of $150 from FY20 level 

The bill is not expected to have a markup or be considered individually on the Senate floor, but it will serve as a negotiating position for the Senate with the House. In order to prevent a government shutdown, Congress needs to pass FY21 appropriations bills or a new continuing resolution (CR) prior to the December 11 expiration of the current CR.  

While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn’t come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, it is a solid step in this process considering restrictive budget caps and urgent needs created by the pandemic. We will continue to work with Congress on appropriations bills and on the next COVID-19 relief package to advocate for more resources to ensure all students have access to high-quality CTE programs and encourage you to reach out to your Members of Congress to ask them to support the higher Perkins funding level included in the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.   

Federal Leadership Speaks on Advance CTE Panel 

On Tuesday, November 10, Advance CTE was joined by an esteemed panel of current and former Assistant Secretaries for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), including:

  • Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for OCTAE, 2018 – Present; 
  • Brenda Dann-Messier, 2009 – 2014; 
  • Carol D’Amico, 2001 – 2003; 
  • Trish McNeil, 1996 – 2001; and
  • Betsy Brand, 1989 – 1993. 

Panelists shared memories over the 100 years of Advance CTE’s work, including work on the federal investment in CTE and the advancement of federal CTE Policy. The group as a whole expressed great pride in changing the national narrative of CTE to a program of value for each learner, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender or where they live. 

Former Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier complimented current Assistant Secretary Stump, noting that “for a long time, CTE was a dumping ground…based on race and ethnicity. It has been a long haul. Scott [Stump], you’ve done a phenomenal job to change that trajectory.”

Looking ahead to the next 100 years with the CTE community, Advance CTE is excited to continue to push forward in order to grow and transform CTE into a system that prepares each learner for a lifetime of success. 

A full recording of our 100 year celebration can be found here.

President-Elect Begins Transition Planning

On Saturday November 7, it was announced the former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) received the electoral votes required to win the presidential election. In the days since, President Elect Biden has begun to share his plans for the transition between administration.

It is important to note that this transition planning is technically still informal, as the General Services Administration (GSA) has not begun the formal transfer of power or authorized transition funding to be used by the Biden-Harris team.

At this time, the Biden-Harris Transition Team has put out a public website: https://buildbackbetter.com. This includes priorities for COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. President-Elect Biden outlines four national efforts as part of an economic recovery strategy:

  • Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America;
  • Mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future;
  • Mobilize American talent and heart to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce; and
  • Mobilize across the board to advance racial equity in America.

In addition, Linda Darling-Hammond was named as the head of the education transition team. Darling-Hammond has an extensive career in the education field, including Professor of Education Emeritus at the Stanford School of Education, past President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the California State Board of Education. Darling-Hammond also ran the education transition team for former President Barack Obama in 2008.

Darling-Hammond will lead the Department of Education Review Team of volunteers, comprised of the following individuals:

  • Ary Amerikaner, The Education Trust
  • Beth Antunez, American Federation of Teachers
  • Jim Brown, United States Senate, Office of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (Retired)
  • Norma Cantu, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law
  • Jessica Cardichon, Learning Policy Institute
  • Keia Cole, MassMutual
  • Lindsay Dworkin, Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Donna Harris-Aikens, National Education Association
  • Kristina Ishmael, Open Education Global
  • Bob Kim, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • James Kvaal, The Institute for College Access & Success
  • Peggy McLeod, UnidosUS
  • Paul Monteiro, Howard University
  • Pedro Rivera, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  • Roberto Rodríguez, Teach Plus, Inc.
  • Shital Shah, American Federation of Teachers
  • Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, American Federation of Teachers
  • Emma Vadehra, The Century Foundation

Full information on the Biden-Harris campaign platform pertaining to education and workforce development can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Biden-Harris Administration: Transition Team Gets Started

November 11th, 2020

On Saturday November 7, it was announced the former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) received the electoral votes required to win the presidential election. In the days since, President Elect Biden has begun to share his plans for the transition between administration.

It is important to note that this transition planning is technically still informal, as the General Services Administration (GSA) has not begun the formal transfer of power or authorized transition funding to be used by the Biden-Harris team.

At this time, the Biden-Harris Transition Team has put out a public website: https://buildbackbetter.com. This includes priorities for COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. President-Elect Biden outlines four national efforts as part of an economic recovery strategy: 

  • Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America; 
  • Mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future; 
  • Mobilize American talent and heart to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce; and 
  • Mobilize across the board to advance racial equity in America. 

In addition, Linda Darling-Hammond was named as the head of the education transition team. Darling-Hammond has an extensive career in the education field, including Professor of Education Emeritus at the Stanford School of Education, past President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the California State Board of Education. Darling-Hammond also ran the education transition team for former President Barack Obama in 2008.

Darling-Hammond will lead the Department of Education Review Team of volunteers, comprised of the following individuals: 

  • Ary Amerikaner, The Education Trust
  • Beth Antunez, American Federation of Teachers
  • Jim Brown, United States Senate, Office of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (Retired)
  • Norma Cantu, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law
  • Jessica Cardichon, Learning Policy Institute
  • Keia Cole, MassMutual
  • Lindsay Dworkin, Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Donna Harris-Aikens, National Education Association
  • Kristina Ishmael, Open Education Global
  • Bob Kim, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • James Kvaal, The Institute for College Access & Success
  • Peggy McLeod, UnidosUS
  • Paul Monteiro, Howard University
  • Pedro Rivera, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  • Roberto Rodríguez, Teach Plus, Inc.
  • Shital Shah, American Federation of Teachers
  • Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, American Federation of Teachers
  • Emma Vadehra, The Century Foundation

Full information on the Biden-Harris campaign platform pertaining to education and workforce development can be found here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: New Funding Bill Passed and ED Offers Technical Assistance

October 2nd, 2020

This week, Congress passed a temporary funding bill and avoided a government shutdown. Read below to learn more about this bill, as well as a new opportunity for technical assistance and a revised COVID-19 stimulus package. 

Congress Passes Funding Bill 

Early Thursday morning the president signed a stopgap funding bill, avoiding a government shutdown since federal funding expired on September 30, 2020. The Senate passed this continuing resolution (CR) on Wednesday in a bipartisan vote of 84-10, following the House vote on the CR last week. This bill extends federal funding at the currently enacted levels through December 11, 2020. At that time Congress will either pass new Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills, or continue with another CR. The bill (H.R. 8337) extends funding for all 12 appropriations bills, including Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed). All education programs will continue at the currently enacted funding levels through the duration of the CR. 

ED Announces 2020 Catalyzing Career and Technical Education Competition

Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced the launch of the 2020 Catalyzing Career and Technical Education Competition. Through funding from OCTAE, Social Finance and JFF, recipients will be provided with technical assistance to scale high-quality, Perkins-eligible Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Perkins-eligible CTE providers are able to apply for this, and up to two sites will be chosen to receive technical assistance valued at about $150,000-$225,000. There will be a webinar on October 6, 2020 at 12:00 pm ET, during which additional information will be provided and those interested can ask questions. Applications are due by December 4, 2020, and those interested are strongly encouraged (but not required) to notify Social Finance of their intent to apply by October 16, 2020. You can learn more about the competition here and the Request for Proposals can be found here.  

House Democrats Introduce Revised COVID-19 Relief Bill
Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here.

On Monday, House Democrats introduced a new $2.2 trillion pandemic relief package as part of a last-minute attempt to find a bipartisan solution prior to both chambers leaving town until after the November 3 elections. The proposal largely mirrors the HEROES Act, the $3.4 trillion package passed by the House in May, including an extension of the $600 expanded unemployment insurance, an additional round of $1,200 tax rebate checks, and more money for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), among other provisions.

There is good news for education in the bill, as the new bill more than doubles the education request to $225 billion, including over $200 billion for an education stabilization fund and some additional targeted resources. See below for a specific breakdown of education funding.

ED’s Education Stabilization Fund – $208.1 Billion:

Funding is allocated to states based on a combination of the number of school-aged children and the number of Title 1-eligible children. Funding is not dependent upon schools reopening and can be used for the types of services and supplies that were allowed under the CARES Act. Funding is divided as follows:

  • $175 billion for elementary and secondary education
  • $27 billion for public postsecondary education, with 75% based on the number of Pell Grant-eligible students; funds can be used for an institution’s needs and for grants to students
  • $4 billion for governors to use on education, including restoring state and local education support
  • $2 billion for Bureau of Indian Education, tribal colleges and outlying areas
  • Maintenance of effort – states must maintain the percent of their budgets spent on education in fiscal year (FY) 2019 for FYs 2020 through 2022, with further specific assurances for K-12 funding and higher education.

Higher Education $11.9 Billion:

This section has funding for private institutions of higher education, and the allowable uses reflect those for public institutions in the Education Stabilization Fund. It includes:

  • $3.5 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and for Minority-Serving Institutions
  • $7 billion for private, non-profit institutions of higher education (page 168)
  • $1.4 billion for institutions with unmet need related to coronavirus
  • $20 million for Howard University
  • $11 million for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf
  • $11 million for Gallaudet University

The bill also includes $12 billion to close the homework gap and $3 billion for emergency home connectivity – The $12 billion is for schools and libraries to fund Wi-fi hotspots and devices.

The House passed a revised version of this bill on Thursday night. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Legislative Update: House Passes FY21 CR and Moves Forward with National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

September 25th, 2020

This week, the House passed a continuing resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) government funding. Read below to learn what this means for Career Technical Education (CTE) funding, as well as the House Committee on Education and Labor markup of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 and the new Rethink Adult Ed Challenge. 

House Passes CR for FY21

Late Tuesday, the House passed a CR (H.R. 8337) that would extend government funding through December 11, 2020. This bill extends funding for all 12 appropriations subcommittees, including Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed), which covers education and workforce development funding. As is typical with a CR, federal funding for all education programs would remain level through the duration of this legislation. A section-by-section summary of this bill can be found here. Next, the Senate will vote on this CR. As a reminder, government funding for the current fiscal year expires on September 30, 2020. 

House Committee Marks Up National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

On Thursday, the House Committee on Education and Labor marked up and passed the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, a comprehensive reauthorization of the National Apprenticeship Act. In his opening remarks, Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) discussed the role that apprenticeships will play in economic recovery during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott shared that per the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), 95 percent of registered apprenticeship participants find employment upon completion of the program with an average annual salary of $70,000. This bill would: 

  • Authorize $400 million for FY21, increasing by $100 million every year up to $800 million in FY25; 
  • Codify and streamline standards for registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeships; 
  • Codify existing regulations and practices for equitable participation and increased diversity in apprenticeship programs; 
  • Codify the roles and responsibilities of the DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship; 
  • Codify the roles and responsibilities of the State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs); and
  • Strengthen the connection between the DOL and U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

Advance CTE is pleased to endorse the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020. You can watch the full mark up here. 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

ED Announces Rethink Adult Ed Challenge 

As part of National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, ED announced the new Rethink Adult Ed Challenge that will expand pre-apprenticeship opportunities for adult learners. This challenge will award prizes totaling $750,000 to support programs funded by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act to create innovative and high-quality pre-apprenticeships in any industry across the United States. Eligible providers- including but not limited to community colleges, correctional facilities, libraries and community-based organizations- can submit Stage 1 applications by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 25, 2020. A virtual information session will take place on October 15, 2020.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

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

 

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