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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 nconneely@careertech.org.

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 nconneely@careertech.org 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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Sec. Duncan, Experts Talk WIA and Jobs for Youth

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

As the country still struggles with the effects of the Great Recession, employment opportunities for less-seasoned workers are the hardest to find. Without prior job experience, teenagers face particularly bleak prospects. The current level of unemployment for teenagers is at an all-time high. Yesterday, Jobs for America’s Graduates, a non-profit organization, convened several governors, corporate executives and organization leaders to brainstorm ways to boost academic and economic outcomes for high-risk youth in the midst of the unemployment crisis.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan kicked off the event by reiterating a point that he frequently makes: successful local programs need to be taken to scale. When an attendee asked how to prepare high school students beyond academia, Duncan pointed to “great” Career Technical Education (CTE) and early college programs as ways to make school more relevant to students. Though the Secretary acknowledges the benefits of CTE, states and localities scramble to prepare for major funding cuts to CTE effective later this year.

A staffer from Senator Harkin’s office commented that Senators are now working on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to better leverage government resources and increase alignment between programs. He noted that many Senators were struck by the results of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that identified many areas of wasteful spending due to program overlap.

Speaker Boehner’s Assistant on Policy echoed that Republican Members feel justified in making cuts to job training programs because of the GAO report. She also stated that Perkins is not on the schedule for review in the near future.

Panelists and participants agreed that skilled positions must be presented as respectable career options for students. Many followed Duncan’s suggestions to replicate best practices, and some suggested that states make high-impact practices mandatory. Other ideas included: increasing service learning opportunities, raising the compulsory age for dropping out from age 16, and including graduation rates as an accountability measure. Though CTE was not a central part of the conversation, most participants agreed that job training and education, key aspects of CTE, must be further integrated.

By Kara in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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New Report Says Expand and Promote CTE

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Career Technical Education (CTE) should be expanded and promoted to address the skills gap and to staff the American workforce, according to a new report.

The HR Policy Association, an organization representing the chief human resource officers of major employers, produced the report to lay out specific changes to ensure the competitiveness of the American workforce and fulfilling careers for job seekers.

The organization’s members recommend the following changes that can be addressed through CTE:

The report states that “Americans are not being educated in sufficient numbers to meet the demands of today’s highly technical work processes and products.” Our country increasingly relies upon ever-changing technology, and workers need skills to develop, repair, and maintain it.

CTE provides a solution. Comprehensive CTE programs prepare students to be college and career ready and to effectively fill vacancies for skilled jobs.

By Kara in News, Resources
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Survey Finds College and Career Readiness a Priority

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

A recent survey indicates that parents, teachers, and business executives broadly agree that all high school graduates should be college and career ready. However, responses vary when participants were asked to describe the priority of preparing college- and career-ready students.

The survey, MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Preparing Students for College and Careers, was completed by 1,000 public school teachers (grades 6 to 12), 2,002 public school students (grades 6-12), 580 parents of public school students (grades 6 to 12), and 301 business executives from Fortune 1000 companies.

College- and Career-Ready Students:

Most parents, teachers, and business leaders report that preparing college- and career-ready high school graduates should be a priority. About half of teachers and half of business executives consider this the highest priority, while a much larger percentage of parents (73 percent) rate producing college- and career-ready graduates as the highest priority in education.

Further, 84 percent of students and 77 percent of business executives state that attaining some level of postsecondary education is a necessary step to provide students with future career opportunities.

Skills for Future Success:

The majority of English and math teachers surveyed believe that clear and persuasive writing skills benefit students more than advanced knowledge of math or science. Almost all of the business executives agree that critical thinking, problem-solving and writing skills are the most essential skills for high school graduates.

About 64 percent of teachers, parents, and executives find international issues and knowledge about other cultures to be absolutely essential knowledge for college- and career-ready students.

The survey also included questions about attending college, paying for college, and education reform efforts. MetLife’s report concluded that preparing college- and career-ready students appears to be a priority for various stakeholders, but opinions vary on how to attain this goal and whether or not it should be an expectation for all students.

By Kara in Research
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Ask Business and Industry Leaders in Your State to Sign Letter in Support of CTE Funding

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) strongly urge you to join in the fight to protect career and technical education (CTE) funded by the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

The legislation proposes to cut the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act by eliminating its Tech Prep program. This elimination results in a significant loss of career and technical education funding to all states and districts and will impact the ability of education institutions to provide students the skills needed in today’s workplace. You can view a chart with projected state loses on ACTE’s Web site.

We need your help to show Congress the negative impact these cuts will have on businesses and the economy! Please join ACTE, NASDCTEc and AACC in a fight to save Perkins funding by signing your organization or business on to this letter. Contact Nancy Conneely at nconneely@careertech.org by noon on Friday, February 25.  We will send the final version to the Senate.

By Nancy in Legislation
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ACTION ALERT: House Proposes Cutting Tech Prep!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

On Friday evening, the House Appropriations Committee released its updated continuing resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year (FY) 11. The bill, H.R. 1, proposes to cut $100 billion from non-security discretionary funding from a variety of federal programs. Department of Education programs would be cut by $4.899 billion compared to FY10. This includes cutting Title II of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act in its entirety, or $103 million in Tech Prep funding for CTE. This affects ALL states, even those that chose to merge Tech Prep because that portion of funding will be taken from their Basic State Grant.

The House is expected to debate and vote on the CR this week, allowing for amendments that could mean deeper cuts than those in the bill. The Senate will take up the House bill when they return from recess on February 28 and try to work out a compromise before the current CR expires on March 4.

While the President released his FY12 budget today that proposes deeper cuts to Perkins, we are focusing our efforts on the FY11 CR because of the very short timeline to affect change. We will take up the fight on FY12 cuts after this is resolved.

CALL YOUR SENATOR

It is crucial that you contact your Member of Congress (especially your Senator) this week to urge them to preserve Tech Prep funding for FY11!

SEND US BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY CONTACTS

NASDCTEc is working with ACTE on a sign-on letter to send to business and industry that will show Congress the number and variety of businesses that support Perkins funding and how many of them will be impacted. If you have any contacts in your state, please send them to us, so that we can ask them to sign on to the letter.

RESOURCES

Talking points

  1. Any cut to Perkins funding will hurt CTE students in every state. Insert concrete examples and data from your state about how students and programs will be impacted by losing this money. Make the case, where appropriate, that cutting Tech Prep will hurt the state’s economy.
  2. Some states have chosen not merge Tech Prep with the Basic State Grant so that they can ensure that the full amount of funding is used for these activities. Losing this money will eliminate these programs, as their Basic State Grant funding is being used for other things.
  3. In the states that have merged, the funding may be used for other programs and activities, thus eliminating Tech Prep funding will actually impact non-Tech Prep activities.

State funding chart

Key Members to contact are those on the:

If you have any questions or to update NASDCTEc on your contact with Congress, please call Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager at 301-588-9630 or email her at nconneely@careertech.org

By Nancy in Legislation
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