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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Global Competitiveness

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Congress Seeks Support for Perkins Funding

As the FY13 appropriations process gets underway, Members of Congress in both the House and Senate are circulating “Dear Colleague” sign-on letters, asking other members to support Perkins Act funding. The House letter is authored by Congressional CTE Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Glenn Thompson (PA) and James Langevin (RI), and the Senate letter is led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT). After signatures have been collected, the letters will be sent to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate.

Please contact your Members of Congress to ask them to sign the letters to support CTE funding. You can reach your Members of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. The deadline for the House letter is Friday, March 16 and the deadline for the Senate letter is March 23.

Senate Global Competitiveness Hearing Focuses on CTE

Yesterday the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing, The Key to America’s Global Competitiveness: A Quality Education, which is part of a series focused on rebuilding the middle-class. In his opening statement, Ranking Member Michael Enzi (WY) said that there is a major deficit of skilled workers in this country which threatens our ability to grow our economy. He went on to say, “The federal government does have a role to play in improving the education of our nation’s children through programs supported under the Head Start Act, the Elementary and Secondary Act, Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act.”

Dr. Richard Murnane from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education pointed out that not all high students want or need to pursue a four-year college degree: “Many want to enroll in two-year vocationally oriented education and training programs…Some want to pursue traditional trades such as plumber and electrician and others want to enter new trades, many related to technology and health. These trades, some old and some new, provide many opportunities to do valuable work and to earn a good living.” He was clear however, that all students should graduate college and career ready, because most jobs require some education or training beyond high school.

Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) asked the witnesses what the best way is to get business and industry to work with high schools to train students for jobs. Dr. Murnane said that career academies are doing this well by connecting schools with employers and helping students learn the technical and cognitive skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Budget Level Funds Perkins; Invests in Career Academies and Community Colleges

Monday, February 13th, 2012

President Obama released his FY13 budget today, and there is good news for CTE! The President proposed level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grants, and plans to release a reauthorization proposal that “would restructure CTE to align what students learn in school with the demands of 21st Century jobs.” While the budget does not include specifics about what this proposal will look like, a budget summary released by the Department of Education states that their proposal would increase the rigor and relevance of CTE and strengthen connections between secondary and postsecondary education. In addition to Perkins Act funding, the budget proposes an investment of $1 billion over three years to scale up career academies.

Some other highlights of the budget that may be of interest:

We are continuing to analyze the budget, and will update you on any additional information that could impact CTE.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Holds Hearing on Job Creation

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing this week, “Expanding Opportunities for Job Creation“, that looked at challenges facing the American workforce, and suggested “smarter federal regulatory policies” and “pro-growth solutions.”

Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut outlined his state’s plan to ensure that community colleges, technical schools, and job training programs work with business and industry to prepare workers for jobs that are available now. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in his remarks also spoke about overhauling the federal job training system, and said that such reform provides an “important opportunity for partnership with states to aggressively address the realities of the 21st century economy and job training” and “create a demand-driven workforce system that cultivates a labor force possessing the necessary skills employers require.” Both Governors stated that career counseling is needed to ensure that students’ skills align to employers’ needs.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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New National Campaign Launches, Calls for Greater Investments in the Nation’s Workforce

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

NASDCTEc is excited to announce the launch of the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW), a national effort calling for greater and more effective federal investments in our nation’s skills so more U.S. businesses can find the skilled workers they need to compete globally, and so all U.S. workers can share in and contribute to our country’s economic prosperity.

Comprised of over 35 national organizations, the Campaign calls on Congress and the Administration to commit to investing—more broadly and more effectively—in the skills of America’s workforce so that more people can develop the market-ready skills to meet the needs of U.S. industries and the larger U.S. economy.

Co-convened by National Skills Coalition and Jobs for The Future, the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce was developed in response to the ongoing threat to the existence of workforce training and education programs that are critical to putting Americans back to work. Together we challenge policymakers to win the global skills race by investing comprehensively across targeted programs in order to strengthen our nation’s ability to compete in the global economy, help U.S. businesses grow and create jobs, support and leverage community resources, and help everyone to contribute to and share in our national prosperity.

NASDCTEc is proud to be a member of the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce and we hope that you will join our call for greater and more effective federal investments in our nation’s workforce.

Learn more about the Campaign and what you can do to help spread the word.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in News, Public Policy
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New ACT Advisory Board Aims to Improve Education-Workforce Alignment

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

ACT, Inc., a nonprofit testing and research organization, convened this week its first National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board.

The Board, comprised of education and workforce leaders, will help guide the Certified Work Ready Communities Initiative, a framework that helps communities align education and workforce development with industry demand.

The Board will also focus on building partnerships in which:

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, who will serve as chairman of the Board, stated that “The facts facing us today are clear – the U.S. has a significant and pressing need to improve workplace skills to meet current and future job demands. We see this initiative as a way to move past restating the obvious problem and move toward implementing proven solutions for America’s workforce.”

For more information, visit ACT’s Certified Work Ready Communities Initiative website.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, WIA, Bills Introduced

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Senate Reluctant to Vote on Education Funding Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) announced this week that he plans to bring three appropriations bills to the floor for a vote this month: Agriculture, Transportation-HUD and Commerce-Justice-Science. However, it is unlikely that the Labor-HHS-Education bill will go to the floor because Senate Republicans are opposed to it.

CTE Highlighted at House WIA Hearing

During Tuesday’s hearing, “Modernizing the Workforce Investment Act: Developing an Effective Job Training System for Workers and Employers,” members of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training heard a number of suggestions on how to improve the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

The consensus among witnesses was that the workforce system must be employer driven, flexible and respond to local needs. Witnesses were also concerned about the heavy burden the current system places on providers, as well as the level of federal involvement. “There is a high reporting burden, and in my mind, before you cut any dollar to the customer, you’ve got to cut down the bureaucracy,” said Kristen Cox, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services.  

Jaime Fall, Vice President of Workforce and Talent Development Policy at the HR Policy Association, urged Congress to “ensure the skills developed through job training programs meet the needs of employers” by giving priority to “training resulting in employer recognized credentials that document skills.” Fall also voiced HR Policy Association’s support for CTE and Perkins-funded programs, saying:

Our members believe that career and technical education programs funded through the Perkins Act are a critical component of the overall national strategy to develop a skilled workforce. We encourage you to strongly support these programs as you discuss WIA, No Child Left Behind and the Perkins Act.

This is not the first time the HR Policy Association has showed their support for Perkins and CTE on Capitol Hill. This summer they sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to restore Perkins Act funding.

Bills Introduced

Ready to Compete Act

Rep. John Yarmuth (KY) has introduced H.R. 3036, the Ready to Compete Act, which would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Workforce Investment Act to award grants to prepare individuals for 21st century careers. The bill would update the Ready to Learn program under ESEA and create a new Ready to Earn program under WIA. These programs would encourage the use of technology and public television to expand the availability of workforce training programs, GED preparation, and adult education initiatives, while providing new resources for classroom instruction and school readiness efforts.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Perkins Funding Maintained in House Proposal

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its FY12 bill yesterday. In it, the House proposes to maintain Perkins funding. Given the House’s stated goal of reducing federal spending, this is a tremendous victory for Perkins and CTE!

As we reported last week, the Senate also proposed level funding for Perkins in their appropriations bill, so there is a good chance that the final bill will reflect this consensus. However, this is not guaranteed, and we must continue to fight for CTE funding. I encourage you to call your Members of Congress and thank them for preserving Perkins funding in their respective draft bills, but also ask them to keep  Perkins level funded in the final bill.

I also encourage you to ask your business and industry partners to show their support for CTE funding by signing onto a business letter that we, along with ACTE, AACC, CCSSO and AASA, are planning to send up to Congress in October. If you have businesses in your state that want to sign on, please have them email me at [email protected].

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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CompTIA Supports Fight to Recover Perkins Funding

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Federal funding cuts to Perkins will scale back the number of educated and skilled workers who are needed to help rebuild the nation’s economy, according to a recent blog by CompTIA. The non-profit is dedicated to advancing the global interests of information technology (IT) professionals and companies including manufacturers, distributors, resellers, and educational institutions.

CompTIA is urging its members to contact their local Congressman, discuss the importance of career and technical education (CTE), and urge Congress to restore funding to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

“In the IT industry, 400,000 jobs are open on any given day, waiting to be filled with qualified personnel,” says Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, said in the blog. “Further cuts to Perkins will damage a key conduit in our nation’s IT workforce pipeline. “

Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director, said Perkins supporters should expect a tough fight for Perkins funding as all federal spending is expected to be scrutinized.

“The CTE community has to do a more thorough job of educating the members of Congress about the value and success of CTE programs. We need to shift the mindset that these crucial federal funds are an investment, bringing a positive return to the economy, not just an expenditure.”

By Erin in Public Policy
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ACTION ALERT: Ask Businesses to Support Perkins Funding

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

The National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), Association for Career and Technical Education, American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of School Administrators, and Council of Chief State School Officers are circulating a business sign-on letter in support of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) and we need your help!

Many of your programs have strong partnerships with large and small businesses, and we want to utilize this business voice. Please reach out to your business partners and have them join in the fight to oppose any additional cuts to Perkins funding. Similar to the business letter that was circulated earlier this year, this letter requests that Congress restore funds for Perkins to ensure that CTE programs have the resources to educate and train the future workforce.

Please visit NASDCTEc’s blog for the latest news related to CTE funding. We have also created a one pager that will help you make the case for why businesses should support CTE funding.

If a business would like to be added to the attached letter, please contact Nancy Conneely at [email protected] with the business name and its zip code (so that we can identify the appropriate congressional representative) by August 31st.

Thank you for your support. Together we will save CTE funding!

By Nancy in Legislation
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Skills-, Workforce-Focused Groups Establish Business Leaders United Initiative

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Four major organizations that are dedicated to supporting the nation’s workforce this week committed to Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships; the new initiative aims to address clear, specific issues, and implement measurable plans to address the job creation challenges in the United States.
National Skills Coalition (NSC), Skills for America’s Future, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and Corporate Voices for Working Families announced the partnership at a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting June 30. In an NSC announcement, the organizations said they planned to “bring diverse business leaders together to help shape a national skills strategy that can address structural skill shortages that are putting the brakes on economic recovery and job creation.”

Measurable plans of Business Leaders United include:

• Expanding the number of these partnerships by more than 30 percent across 50 states.
• Facilitating conversations between local business leaders and federal policymakers about how private, philanthropic, and public dollars can be leveraged to replicate and sustain these partnerships nationally.

By Erin in News
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