House Focuses on Apprenticeship Before Recess

August 2nd, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives is now in recess until September 5. Before they left last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on apprenticeship. We’ll recap the hearing, a couple bills that were introduced in the last month and provide information on how to receive news about what is happening in the world of higher education data below.

House Hearing Highlights Different Approaches to Earn and Learn

On Wednesday, July 26, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing on “Expanding Options for Employers and Workers Through Earn-and-Learn Opportunities.” The hearing included testimony from Mike Bennett (Vice President, Cianbro), Robert Peglow (Student at Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KYFAME), Rob Hogan (Vice President of Manufacturing and Material Distribution, Newport News Shipbuilding) and Stacey Johnson Hughes (State Chair, KYFAME). Most members’ questions of the witnesses focused on the components of registered apprenticeships and other industry-led programs that provide opportunities to earn and learn. Many of the witnesses mentioned the importance of employer and industry engagement in their programs and how their programs intentionally connect local K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) asked about those connections specifically and highlighted the recent House-passed bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) and how it promotes work-based learning opportunities, including apprenticeship. To learn more about the connections between apprenticeships and secondary CTE, check out the resources from Advance CTE and the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) here, including two videos.

In Case You Missed It: House Introduces CTE Legislation

On June 21, Rep. Pocan (D-WI) introduced H.R. 2933, the Leveraging Effective Apprenticeships to Rebuild National Skills (LEARNS) Act, which would:

  • “Support closer alignment between registered apprenticeship programs, employers and other program sponsors offering good jobs,
  • Increase the attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials by program participants,
  • Create national standards for registered apprenticeship programs, and
  • Establish a permanent advisory council at the Department of Labor to oversee the actions and implementation of registered apprenticeship programs”

Find more about the bill in the press release here.

On June 30, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced H.R.3137, the Promoting Women in STEM Act, which would amend Perkins to “require existing state programs funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (Perkins) Act to include programs that increase participation of women in STEM fields” by adding support for these programs to the list of required uses of state leadership funds.

Looking for a Weekly Dose of Higher Education Data News?

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) has you covered with their Weekly Data Roundup! The roundup is a great resource that delivers brief summaries of reports, notices, and commentary from the week’s top higher ed data news right to your inbox. Not familiar with IHEP’s PostsecData Collaborative? Browse the website and subscribe to the Weekly Data Roundup today!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

 

BUILDS Act Introduced, House & Senate Continue FY18 Appropriations Work

July 27th, 2017

The last working day before the House goes into recess is this Friday, July 28 and the last day for the Senate is August 11. Both the House and Senate have taken steps toward advancing the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) Budget and Appropriations process in the last week and will likely continue their work after the break. Also last week, the Senate introduced new infrastructure legislation – read more about these efforts below.

Senators Portman (R-OH) and Kaine (D-VA) Introduce BUILDS Act

On July 20, Senators Portman (R-OH) and Kaine (D-VA), co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, introduced the “Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills”(BUILDS) Act. This bill would authorize the Secretary of Labor to award grants to industry or sector partnerships that would:
  • “Incentivize businesses and industry to work with the greater community to create on-the-job training programs to fill the jobs necessary to expand the country’s infrastructure system
  • Connect businesses and education providers to develop classroom curriculum to complement on-the-job learning
  • Train managers and front-line workers to serve as mentors to people in work-based learning programs
  • Offer resources and career awareness programming to recruit and retain individuals for workforce training programs
  • Provide support services to ensure workers are successful from pre-employment to placement in a full-time position”
This bill also makes connections to CTE, such as including the definitions for CTE and “career guidance and academic counseling” that are found in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). In addition, CTE is embedded in the objectives and activities that the grants awarded can support. Advance CTE is proud to support this bill.

 

House Appropriations Committee Approves Bill that Level-Funds Perkins, House Budget Committee Approves Resolution

On July 19, the House Appropriations Committee marked up and approved the FY18 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill . This bill includes level-funding for CTE (and maintains that $1,117,598,000 be allocated to the Perkins Basic State Grants and $7,421,000 be allocated for National Programs – the same as FY17). Also on July 19, the House Budget Committee marked up and approved its FY18 Budget Resolution (which provides the top-line spending number for all 12 appropriations bills).The blueprint notes that, “Strengthening career and technical education, higher education, and workforce development programs, by increasing choice, access, and affordability, will ensure that our workers have the skills necessary to compete in a growing and changing economy” (p. 26). The House Budget Committee’s report on the resolution similarly highlights CTE (see page 121 here). At this time, the budget resolution has not been scheduled to go for a vote before the full House of Representatives and neither has the FY18 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.

Senate Appropriations Process Begins

On July 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its guidance for FY18 allocations for the 12 appropriations bills. While the allocation for Labor-HHS-Education is $8 billion more than the amount in the House Bill, the guidance notes, “This increase is necessary to offset a significant reduction in available savings from mandatory programs.” As additional information about when the Senate Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill will be marked up and allocations for specific programs becomes available, we will share it. Now is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress (thanks to our partners at ACTE for sharing this Action Center with the entire CTE community) to let them know that you support a strong federal investment in CTE!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Perkins Level-Funded in House Bill, CTE Highlighted in ESSA Discussions

July 19th, 2017

This week, Congress has been busy marking up appropriations bills, the first of many steps toward determining the overall budget and the appropriations for individual programs for the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) that begins October 1. In addition, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Advance CTE will also be discussing how states can connect their vision for career readiness with ESSA during a webinar on Thursday, July 20 from 1-2pm ET – please join us!

Perkins Level-Funded in House Bill

On Thursday, July 13, the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations subcommittee marked up their FY18 appropriations bill and it passed along party lines 9-6. This bill will be marked up by the full House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, July 19.

  • The bill proposed funding Perkins at its current level ($1.125 billion, the same as was allocated in FY17) and also proposed the following allocations to education and labor programs:
    • Student Support and Academic Achievement state grants, new grants under Title IV-A of ESSA, receive $500 million. These block grants have a variety of allowable uses, one of which includes Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and activities that meet the requirements of ESSA’s definition for a “well-rounded education.”
    • Pell grants remain funded at their FY17 level. However, the bill includes a $3.3 billion rescission that would lower the reserve amount available in the future.
    • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) would be cut by $85,724,000, or about three percent.
    • Apprenticeship grants funded through the Department of Labor would be zeroed out (they received $95 million in FY17).
  • The House Budget Committee will mark up its FY18 Budget Resolution (which provides the top-line spending number for all 12 appropriations bills) on Wednesday, July 19.

Importantly, there are a number of additional steps and decisions that need to be made before a final agreement on the FY18 appropriations is reached and we’ll provide updates as additional information becomes available.

Benefits of CTE Highlighted in ESSA Hearing

On Tuesday, July 18, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing entitled, “ESSA Implementation: Exploring State and Local Reform Efforts.” The witnesses who spoke during the hearing were Jaqueline Nowicki, Director, K-12 Education at the U.S Government Accountability Office, Gail Pletnick, Superintendent at the Dysart Unified School District in Arizona, Phillip Lovell, Vice President of Policy Development and Government Relations at the Alliance for Excellent Education, and Carey Wright, State Superintendent at the Mississippi Department of Education. Over 20 members of the committee asked questions of the witnesses, many of them focused on the flexibility provided in the law, the role of regulations, the stakeholder engagement process, how states selected accountability indicators and how they are using data about the performance of historically underserved groups, feedback received on submitted ESSA plans, and the role of the federal government in education. Notably, several committee members brought up CTE – they were curious about how it fits into states’ ESSA plans and were eager to share how their state’s successful CTE initiatives benefitted students.  

ESSA Webinar this Thursday, July 20

This spring, 16 states and Washington D.C. submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education describing their strategies to implement ESSA. While more than half of the plans that were submitted during the first window included career readiness accountability indicators, many states missed opportunities to fully leverage ESSA to support a statewide vision for career readiness (read more about how career readiness shows up in the first 17 ESSA plans in our new report here). Please join us Thursday, July 20 from 1-2 p.m. ET to hear from national experts and state leaders about connecting ESSA to your state’s vision for career readiness. Speakers include representatives from Advance CTE, the College & Career Readiness & Success Center, the Connecticut Department of Education and the California Department of Education.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

What a 15 Percent Cut to Perkins Really Means

July 10th, 2017

Advance CTE asked its members and the readership of its Legislative Updates newsletter (sign up to receive it by checking “Advocacy and Federal Policy” here) what a 15 percent cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant (as proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget) would mean for them. Career Technical Education (CTE) advocates, students and educators from across the country wrote to us to let us know how devastating these cuts would be to programs across the country. Unsurprisingly, we heard that these cuts would severely impact every stakeholder involved in a successful CTE system – from students, to teachers, to communities – and their ability to address important issues – from student access to programs, to their ability to develop in-demand skills, to the health of the U.S. economy.

We plan to share these stories with the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees – the key decision makers about Perkins funding. Compelling, real-world stories have great impact on legislators. They pull on their heart strings and highlight the harsh reality that these cuts will result in a loss of opportunities for students and employers.

How Cuts Hurt Learners

“Creating my two games taught me things about computer science and coding that I never knew existed. The computer science classes that I’ve taken have given me a greater appreciation for technology and were so much fun in the process. High school wouldn’t be the same without them.” David, CTE Student in California

“Over the past five years, we have seen an increase in the number of students interested in taking a foundations CTE course rise from 358 to 802.  In a school with around 1200 students, this is a significant increase.  No longer is CTE the place where students go to fill their schedule.  Students interested in engineering, computer science, pharmacy, etc are requesting to take our courses so that they can become better prepared for their future.” Kyle, CTE Professional in Alabama

“Because these funds are used in programs across the schools, it is accurate to say every one of the 1,600+ students in our schools has been supported by instructional materials purchased with Perkins funds.” – Jack, CTE Professional in California

“Next year…there will be three new CTE programs–Engineering, Biomedical, and Computer Science…With the 15 percent cut to [the] Perkins Basic State Grant…these pathways may be in jeopardy.” Linda, CTE Professional in Massachusetts

“While [Perkins funds are] a relatively small percentage of our budget, the funds support critical services that increase students’ likelihood of earning their diploma and a credential.” – Tony, CTE Professional in Ohio

How Cuts Affect Instructors

“We rely on these funds to partially offset the costs of employing the unsung heroes of secondary Career and Technical Education programs – our industry-experienced paraprofessionals.” – Jason, CTE Professional in Michigan

How Cuts Impact Communities

“It’s a local and national economic development issue that strengthens all communities. Critical and long standing Perkins funding for CTE programs should be fully restored and enhanced.” – Aiddy, CTE Professional in Iowa

“We have finally acknowledged the value of CTE and the resources it provides to our communities and youth.  Let’s not, again, go down the path of neglecting the core of our workforce.” – Lex, CTE Professional in California

How Cuts Harm Our Economy

“The lack of these funds would impair the ability of students to find employment in the current job market and affect industries’ ability to fill skilled positions.” – Connie, CTE Professional in Kansas

“[CTE] is the solution to filling a substantial portion of the workforce demand not only in Oklahoma, but nationally. As our nation faces the difficulty of meeting the needs of a skilled workforce, we should be investing in Perkins funding, not cutting resources which are core to educational, and workforce advancements.”  Marcie, CTE Professional in Oklahoma

“The Administration’s plan to cut Perkins funding for Career and Technical Education, will not only hurt career centers, high schools and  adult training centers it will be absolutely devastating  to our overall economic growth. The current shortage of skilled workers is already an issue; this would only intensify the shortage of skilled workers and hurt our nation’s youth and adults who are in desperate need of technical training… We as a country would be making a grave mistake to continue to cut Perkins funding.” – Scott, CTE Professional in Ohio

What can you do?  

Connect with your local press: Tell them about what CTE is doing in your state and how these cuts would impact your state. Here is a great example from Oklahoma.
Contact your members of Congress: Let them know that you oppose these proposed cuts by calling them via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or contacting them through the CTE Action Center, brought to you by our friends at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

New Advance CTE Resources, Increased Focus on Postsecondary

June 30th, 2017

Advance CTE has new resources out on H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (which would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins)) and will release a report on states’ Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans next week. While Congress and the Administration are paying attention to states’ ESSA plans, they’re also turning to issues in postsecondary education. More below on new Advance CTE resources, a webinar we’re hosting on July 20, Pell grants and legislative proposals to address postsecondary education.

H.R. 2353 Resources Now Available 

As we reported, H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, overwhelmingly passed the House last week. You can find our summary of the bill here and the letter we sent in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) to the House here, which commends the Committee for their work on the bill but also reiterates our concerns about how the bill defines a secondary CTE concentrator.

ESSA Webinar on Career Readiness

This spring, sixteen states and Washington D.C. submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education describing their strategies to implement ESSA. A number of organizations have released their analyses of ESSA state plans (e.g., Bellwether Education Partners and the Alliance for Excellent Education) and Advance CTE will release our analysis next week, which will focus specifically on how the plans address career readiness. Please join us Thursday, July 20 from 1-2 p.m. ET to hear from national experts and state leaders about connecting ESSA to your state’s vision for career readiness.

Year-Round Pell Grants Take Effect July 1 

As we reported in May, Congress approved a Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Omnibus package that included the reinstatement of year-round Pell grants. On June 19, Secretary DeVos officially announced that the change would take effect on July 1, 2017, allowing students “to receive up to 150 percent of the student’s Federal Pell Grant Scheduled Award beginning with the 2017-2018 award year.” Find the press release from the U.S. Department of Education here and the “Dear Colleague” Letter issued here.

In Case You Missed It: Postsecondary Legislation Introduced in the House

On June 8, members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee introduced two pieces of legislation as part of the “Aim Higher” initiative. The initiative, which is being led by House Democrats, has a goal of making “quality higher education accessible and affordable to empower America’s working families to succeed in our economy” (find more in the press release here).
The Jumpstart on College Act, sponsored by Rep. Espaillat (D-NY) would create competitive grants that would be awarded to “support dual enrollment and early college high schools that primarily serve low-income students” and “colleges and universities to partner with school districts to support the development of these programs.” Find additional details in the summary here.
The Advancing Competency-Based Education Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Polis (D-CO) would amend the Higher Education Act (HEA) “to allow for the voluntary implementation of competency-based education demonstration projects at institutions of higher education,” which would be selected by the Secretary of Education through an application process. The bill would also create “a council to study the ongoing innovation and growth of competency-based education.” Find additional details in the summary here.
Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

H.R. 2353, the bill to reauthorize the Perkins Act, passes the House of Representatives

June 22nd, 2017

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted by voice vote to pass H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The bill would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) through Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.

Kimberly Green, executive director of Advance CTE and LeAnn Wilson, executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education praised the 100-year history of bipartisan support for Career Technical Education (CTE). They also commended Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), along with leadership from both parties, particularly House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), for their strong commitment to support CTE.

While Advance CTE and ACTE supported the passage of H.R. 2353, they noted that there is one outstanding issue to be resolved around the bill’s proposed definition for a secondary CTE concentrator. Both organizations encourage the Senate to resolve this issue and capitalize on the momentum of the House-passed vote to reauthorize Perkins. Read the full statement here.

 

Both Green and Wilson spoke at a press conference immediately following the vote to reinforce the importance of CTE as a truly bipartisan issue that not only prepares learners for a successful future, but also contributes to our talent pipeline and efforts to narrow the skills gap. Representatives Thompson (R-PA), Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Langevin (D-RI), Byrne (R-AL), Ferguson (R-GA), Nolan (D-MN), and Smucker (R-PA) all spoke in support of the legislation. In addition, Stan Litow, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM and Eleanor Kerr, Director, Government Affairs, Siemens Healthineers provided brief remarks about the value of CTE.

 

“I want to thank everyone who said yes to today’s vote…It’s so important to remember that [there is] longstanding bipartisan support for CTE because it comes from a place of understanding that Career Technical Education plays an important role in making sure that learners of all ages get a chance to explore their talents, interests, career options, [and] that they get a chance to try out different careers, have hands-on experiences and real-world opportunities to find a lifetime of career and education success,” said Green. “There’s no doubt to me that this legislation will work to close the skills gap… As many others have said, I urge the Senate to act.” Watch the video here.

Perkins Vote on Thursday, Apprenticeship Executive Order Signed

June 21st, 2017

The focus on Career Technical Education (CTE) remains strong this week as attention shifts from last week’s “Workforce Week” events to action on Capitol Hill. More below on a vote on H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (which would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins)), the Executive Order on apprenticeship and new resources from Advance CTE and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE).

H.R. 2353 Vote on Thursday

Following unanimous approval from the House Education and the Workforce Committee on May 17, we anticipate that H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (which would reauthorize Perkins, find our summary here) will come to a vote this Thursday, June 22. Once the vote occurs, we will share the final vote count. We will also analyze the bill and share out any technical changes that were made between the Committee mark up and floor vote as soon as possible. Timing and consideration of the bill in the Senate are not known at this time.

President Trump Signs Executive Order

On June 15, President Trump signed the “Expanding Apprenticeship in America” Executive Order (EO). Key components of the EO include:

  • “Establishing Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships”: Directs the Secretary of Labor to consult with the Secretaries of Education and Commerce to “consider proposing regulations… that promote the development of apprenticeship programs by third parties. These third parties may include trade and industry groups, companies, non-profit organizations, unions, and joint labor-management organizations.”
  • “Promoting Apprenticeship Programs at Colleges and Universities. The Secretary of Education shall, consistent with applicable law, support the efforts of community colleges and 2 year and 4 year institutions of higher education to incorporate apprenticeship programs into their courses of study.”
  • “Establishment of the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion: The mission of the Task Force shall be to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeship programs are insufficient.”
  • “Improving the Effectiveness of Workforce Development Programs”
    • “The head of each agency shall submit a list of programs, if any, administered by their agency that are designed to promote skills development and workplace readiness” and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget “shall consider the information provided… in developing the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget.”
    • “The head of each agency administering one or more job training programs shall order… an empirically rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of such programs, unless such an analysis has been recently conducted.”

The EO provides broad contours and policy direction. Advance CTE will watch for more information and provide updates when details are available, which are particularly important given the lack of details in the EO. Of particular note is the direction to OMB, given the rationale used to justify the 15% proposed cut in the President’s budget. To learn more about the flawed justification and Advance CTE’s response to it, read this opinion piece written by Advance CTE and ACTE.

New Resources on Apprenticeship

To learn more about the connections between apprenticeships and secondary CTE, check out the resources from Advance CTE and the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) here, including two new videos.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Push for Apprenticeships is Focus of Workforce Development Week

June 14th, 2017

It’s “Workforce Development Week” for the Trump Administration. Events throughout the week have involved remarks from key officials and a visit to a technical college in Wisconsin, but the biggest news is expected later this week.  See below for additional details on the week’s events, a new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and Advance CTE, and an announcement from Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Monday: Ivanka Trump Talks Perkins, Apprenticeship Raised in Cabinet Meeting,  

On June 12, Ivanka Trump appeared on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” and provided an overview of Workforce Development Week. She discussed the skills gap, the upcoming visit to a technical college in Wisconsin, apprenticeships, and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). Ivanka Trump commented on the Carl D. Perkins Act noting that, “It’s a very good piece of legislation. They’re refining it and extending it, but it’s all about skills-based education and really making sure people have the technical skills to succeed in this modern economy.”

Also on June 12, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta presented on apprenticeships and distributed this policy memo, which outlines the need for skilled workers, highlights key facts about apprenticeship in the United States and requests that, “each Agency head support the Administration’s apprenticeship initiative by removing obstacles to apprenticeship growth that may be present in current regulations or practices.”

Tuesday: Visit to Waukesha County Technical College

On June 13, President Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Secretaries Devos and Acosta visited Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin and then held a roundtable discussion with Governor Scott Walker and students and instructors from the college. Topics addressed in the discussion’s opening remarks from President Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Governor Walker included the skills gap, the importance of skills-based programs and apprenticeships to address that gap, and the Governor’s recent announcement about a grant to support apprenticeships for high school students. Members of Congress have been weighing in on Workforce Development Week and we appreciate Senator Baldwin’s response that called attention to the President’s proposed cuts to Career Technical Education (CTE).

Wednesday: New Apprenticeship Bill, Report

Senators Cantwell (D-WA) and Collins (R-ME) introduced the Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act of 2017 on June 14 (find the summary here). According to a press release from Senator Cantwell’s office, the bill would:

  • “Create a $5,000 tax credit for up to three years for companies that hire and pay employees enrolled in a federal- or state-registered apprentice program. Additionally, employers participating in a multi-employer apprenticeship program, the credit rate would be $3 per hour each individual works.
  • Allow senior employees near retirement to draw from pensions early if they’re involved in mentoring or training new employees. Workers must be at least 55, and have reduced work hours to spend at least 20 percent of their time training or educating employees or students.
  • Help veterans get into skilled jobs that match their military experience sooner by allowing credit in apprenticeship requirements for previous military training.”

Curious about how apprenticeship programs relate to CTE? Check out this new resource from OCTAE and Advance CTE that details how eight programs connect secondary CTE to apprenticeship.

What’s Next for Workforce Development Week?

News reports from Inside Higher Ed and others anticipate that President Trump will make an announcement this week about expanding apprenticeship efforts and increasing the federal investment in apprenticeship. In addition, the President is expected to sign an executive order related to apprenticeships.

Secretary DeVos Announces Rulemaking Committees

On June 14, Secretary DeVos announced that the Department of Education (ED) would create two rulemaking committees on regulations surrounding Borrower Defense Repayment and Gainful Employment. With regard to Gainful Employment, the press release noted that “As the Department worked on implementing this regulation, it became clear that, as written, it is overly burdensome and confusing for institutions of higher education.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Secretary DeVos Defends Cuts to Career Technical Education, Continues to Promote School Choice

June 7th, 2017

Congress returned from last week’s recess ready to dive into the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget and appropriations process – and we’re ready to advocate on your behalf! Please continue to send your stories about what the proposed 15 percent cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant would mean for you to Katie Fitzgerald, kfitzgerald@careertech.org and we will follow up with you about featuring your story in our advocacy communications. Find more on the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee’s hearing on the FY18 Department of Education (ED) Budget and details on the Administration’s proposed initiatives around school choice below.

Secretary DeVos Defends Cuts to Career Technical Education

Keep your calls to Congress coming! It’s not too late to reach out to your Members of Congress to encourage them to support a strong investment in Perkins. Because of your advocacy, CTE was in the spotlight during the FY18 Budget hearing for ED (you can watch it online here) held by the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. The proposed cuts to CTE came up quickly, as the subcommittee’s Chairman, Senator Blunt (R-MO) pointed them out specifically in his opening statement:

In reviewing this budget request it is difficult to know whether you made cuts because you believe the programs are truly ineffective or because your budget number required these reductions just to reach the bottom line. For example, I believe significant reductions to programs like Career and Technical Education, TRIO, and Federal Work Study will make it harder for students to get into and complete college, and go on to well-paying jobs.”

While Secretary DeVos did not have the opportunity to respond during the opening statements, she did have the opportunity to do so when Senator Shelby (R-AL) asked about the perceived implications of the proposed cuts to the Perkins Basic State Grants in light of the continued need for skilled workers. Secretary DeVos responded by saying that there’s an opportunity to look at how some CTE efforts have been siloed, that there is some overlap between CTE and programs administered through the Department of Labor, and that there is a need to think holistically about how higher education legislation can support opportunities in CTE. Secretary DeVos provided a similar answer and emphasized the need to foster innovation when Senator Baldwin (D-WI) asked how the $20 million for competitive grants would make up for over $1.5 billion lost via formula grants through Perkins, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and the Student Success and Academic Enrichment grants (authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act). Senator Schatz (D-HI) mentioned CTE in his remarks and Senator Murphy (D-CT) referenced the “massive cuts in CTE” when addressing the Administration’s school choice proposal (more details below).

More Than $1.4 Billion in Increases for School Choice in FY18 ED Budget Proposal

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee’s hearing on the FY18 Department of Education Budget included many questions about the additional $1 billion in Title I funding for school choice and the increases for other programs that would focus on it. What are the specific funding levels and purposes of the programs? The ED press release describes them as follows:

  • $1 billion increase for Title I for new Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) grants. FOCUS grants would provide supplemental awards to school districts that adopt student-centered weighted student funding formulas combined with open enrollment systems.
  • $250 million increase for the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program for competitive awards for applicants to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.
  • $167 million increase for the Charter Schools Grants program to strengthen State efforts to start new charter schools or expand and replicate existing high-performing charter schools while providing up to $100 million to meet the growing demand for charter school facilities.”

It is ultimately up to Congress to determine the fate of these programs and the others included (and excluded) in the Administration’s FY18 Budget Proposal for ED: appropriators make the call as to whether ED programs are funded and the level at which to fund them. We will continue to provide updates as Congress works through the budget and appropriations process for FY18.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

President’s Budget Proposal Raises Questions

May 26th, 2017

As we reported, the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) was released on Tuesday. This proposal includes a $168 million cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant, a 15 percent decrease from the current level of funding, while increasing $20 million for National Programs for competitive grant program to spur innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Find our full statement on the budget here. We have details on the budget itself, a briefing at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Congressional hearing on ED’s budget, and a resource update below. Additionally, we encourage you to send us your stories on how these budget cuts would impact CTE programs in your state.

Budgets for Departments of Education and Labor Slashed

Overall, when comparing the proposed FY18 ED budget to the FY17 levels appropriated by Congress (including the Pell grant rescissions included in both), the total cut is $7.9 billion (12 percent). Some notable proposed cuts are outlined below:

  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment state grants, new grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) are eliminated. These block grants received $400 million in FY17 and were authorized by ESSA to receive $1.6 billion for FY18. They have a variety of allowable uses, one of which includes CTE programs and activities that meet the requirements of ESSA’s definition for a “well-rounded education.”
  • Pell grants are reduced by $42.7 million and the maximum award size is frozen at the 2017 level, but year-round Pell grants are supported. However, the proposal also includes a $3.9 billion rescission that would lower the reserve amount available in the future.
  • Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants are reduced by $96 million (16 percent).

Find charts with the ED numbers for FY17 compared to the President’s FY18 budget proposal and the overall federal investment in education over time from the Committee for Education Funding here.

The proposed FY18 budget for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) cuts $2.5 billion (21 percent) when compared to the FY17 levels appropriated by Congress. Some notable proposed cuts are outlined below:

  • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) are reduced by over $1 billion (40 percent).
  • Apprenticeship grants are reduced by $5 million.

You can find a helpful table that compares FY17 appropriations to the President’s FY18 budget proposal for key programs under WIOA, DOL, ED, and more from the National Skills Coalition here.

Budget Events Draw Crowds, Questions

On Tuesday afternoon, ED held a briefing on the President’s budget (you can find the slide deck and more here). Secretary Betsy DeVos gave opening remarks, Erica Navarro, the Budget Service Director at ED, presented, and then the floor was open for questions. Many questions focused on how programs up for elimination would be phased out, questions to clarify specific numbers, and the rationale for particular cuts). When Advance CTE posed a question about the rationale behind the cut to the proposed $168 million (or 15 percent) to Perkins Basic State Grants, the response was that ED wanted to give Congress flexibility in the reauthorization process. In addition, we asked about the proposed $20 million increase to National Programs (which has historically been used for research and evaluation of CTE programs) and were provided with a similar answer to what appears in the ED Budget summary document: that it is meant to spur innovation in STEM CTE programs. The overall theme of this briefing was that “tough choices” had to be made.

On Wednesday, Secretary DeVos appeared in front of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee to discuss ED’s budget (you can watch the hearing here). In contrast to the day before, the main themes were state and local control, parental choice, and an emphasis on the idea that past approaches haven’t worked (see the written testimony from Secretary DeVos here). The hearing drew a large crowd and Members of Congress used the entire time allotted for the hearing for their questions, which focused on a wide variety of programs in the budget and the role of ED more broadly in regard to accountability. Representatives Womack (R-AR), Moolenaar (R-MI) and DeLauro (D-CT) all spoke in favor of CTE. Secretary DeVos recalled her visits to community colleges with CTE programs, discussed the importance of multiple pathways to success in the workforce, and reinforced her support of dual-enrollment programs, but did not address the proposed $168 million cut to Perkins Basic State Grants. Rep. DeLauro pointed out the irony of this at the end of the hearing, as have others, including AFT and the Atlantic.

What Would the Cut to Perkins Mean for you? Send Us Your Stories!

One of the most effective ways to illustrate to Members of Congress the importance of a strong investment in Perkins is real stories about what a cut to those funds would mean on the ground (you can find your state’s potential allocation in FY18 here – see page 21). What would a cut mean for your program? Could fewer students enroll? Would it mean that students will have to use outdated equipment? Send your stories about what cuts to Perkins would mean for you to Katie Fitzgerald, kfitzgerald@careertech.org and we will follow up with you about featuring your story in our communications.

ICYMI: Perkins Reauthorization Update

H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) was marked up by the House Education and the Workforce Committee last week. Find our updated summary and analysis here, which incorporates changes from the mark up.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

 

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