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Posts Tagged ‘WIA’

Legislative Update: House Committee Passes WIA Reauth Bill

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a markup of H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 yesterday. The bill represents large scale changes to the current WIA program. The bill was approved by a party line vote of 23 to 15. There is no word on when the bill will go to the floor.

The bill proposes to consolidate approximately 30 existing workforce and training programs into a single, flexible Workforce Investment Fund, and it would give Governors the power to consolidate even more programs under a unified state plan. The bill would also require states and locals to use common performance measures for all workforce development programs.

As we previously reported, an earlier bill introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC), which was merged into H.R. 4297, allowed states to submit a unified state plan encompassing two or more job training and related programs, including both Perkins secondary and postsecondary programs. Under Foxx’s bill, Perkins funds would have been eligible to be consolidated into a Workforce Investment Fund and used for workforce activities. After hearing from the CTE community, new language was added to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act that singles out Perkins as one program whose funds cannot be consolidated into the Workforce Investment Fund.

The Workforce Investment Improvement Act also proposes changes to the Job Corps program to ensure that CTE and job training offered under that program is focused on in-demand occupations and that disadvantaged youth receive a regular high school diploma and/or a postsecondary credential that prepares them for employment.

Democrats on the Committee are not supportive of the bill, and offered a substitute bill as an amendment. Their bill focused on career pathways in high demand industries that lead to industry recognized credentials and postsecondary attainment. It would also expand the role of community colleges in job training. The Democrats’ amendment was voted down along party lines.

A summary of H.R. 4297 can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, WIA, Career Pathways

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The Department of Education released their Perkins reauthorization blueprint yesterday. See our previous blog entry and statement here.

Senate Sets Spending Levels for Subcommittees

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee released their 302(b) allocations, or spending levels, for each of the 12 subcommittees. In the Senate, they are using as their top line number the cap set by the Budget Control Act — $1.047 trillion. The Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee would receive $157.722 billion to divide up among its programs, including the Perkins Act. The House is expected to release its 302(b) allocations next.

House Holds WIA Hearing

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a legislative hearing this week on H.R. 4297, the “Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012.” The hearing provided members an opportunity to discuss and gather expert feedback on the legislation. Among other things, this bill would consolidate 27existing workforce related programs into one flexible job training program, require the makeup of WIBs to be two-thirds employers, and require States to adopt common performance measures.

DOL Releases Career Pathways Resources

The Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor released technical assistance resources for the Career Pathways Initiative. The Career Pathways Initiative was launched in June 2010 to increase credential attainment and improve access to training opportunities for disadvantaged individuals. The new resources can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: WIA, Budget

Friday, March 30th, 2012

House Introduces Workforce Investment Act

The House this week introduced a comprehensive Workforce Investment Act reauthorization proposal, H.R. 4297, The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012. This builds upon three separate bills introduced earlier this session by Reps. Virginia Foxx (NC), Rep. Buck McKeon (CA), and Rep. Joe Heck (NV). Rep. Foxx’s earlier bill, the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act, allowed states to submit a unified plan encompassing two or more job training and related programs, including both Perkins secondary and postsecondary programs. Under Foxx’s bill, Perkins funds would have been eligible to be consolidated into a Workforce Investment Fund and used for workforce activities. We shared our opposition to this proposal with the members of the Education and the Workforce Committee, and we are happy to report that new language was added to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act that singles out Perkins as the only program that cannot be consolidated in the unified state plan.

House Passes Budget Resolution

Yesterday the House passed the FY13 Budget Resolution introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI) by a vote of 228 to 191. This proposal would cap federal spending at $1.028 trillion, which is $19 billion below levels set by the Budget Control Act and the level that the Senate is plans to use.  Such a large difference between the chambers sets up another potentially long and drawn out appropriations process.

Duncan Testifies Before Congress on Budget
This week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee to discuss the Administration’s FY13 Budget, much like he did last week before the Appropriations Labor-HHS- Education Subcommittee.  There was push back from this committee about the focus in the President’s budget on new competitive grant programs, as opposed to the long-standing formula programs. Secretary Duncan also spoke about the value of community colleges and the need to increase capacity to meet the growing demand of individuals seeking to upgrade their skills.

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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House Democrats Introduce Alternative WIA Bill

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Democratic members of the House Education and Workforce introduced their version of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization this week. The bill, introduced by Reps. Ruben Hinojosa (TX), George Miller (CA), and John Tierney (MA), is similar to a draft WIA bill circulated in the Senate last summer. This bill is also considered an alternative to Republican WIA bills, such as Rep. Virginia Foxx’s (NC) Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act.

The Democratic bill focuses on a number of issues raised in NASDCTEc’s WIA reauthorization recommendations, including sector-based strategies, adult career pathways, direct contracting with community colleges, common measures, and One Stop infrastructure funding. More information on the bill can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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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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President Focuses on Education and Skills Training in State of the Union

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

In his State of the Union address last night President Obama called keeping the middle class alive “the defining issue of our time.” Throughout his speech, he set out proposals to foster an economy “built to last” predicated on education, a skilled workforce, high-paying jobs, energy independence and fairness that would help bolster the middle class.

The President highlighted the skills gap that exists in industries such as manufacturing, information technology and clean energy: “Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.” In an effort to solve this problem, he called for a national commitment to train two million individuals with the skills they need to land a job, with a focus on partnerships between businesses and community colleges. The President is scheduled to release his FY13 budget on February 13. We hope that his commitment to address the skills gap and provide resources for unemployed individuals will be reflected in his proposal for Perkins Act funding.

President Obama also focused on the current job training system, saying that he wants “to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people…have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need.” His hope is that streamlining the system will get people back to work more quickly in the jobs that exist today, and better prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. While he does not mention the Workforce Investment Act specifically, the program has been due for reauthorization since 2003 and has been top priority for the both the House and the Senate this session. Given the President’s mention of the workforce system, we are hopeful that this signals a desire to reauthorize WIA in the coming year.

The President also touched on other education issues such as high school dropouts, calling on states to require students to stay in school until graduation or until they turn 18. In terms of college access and affordability, the President urged Congress to keep student interest rates low and extend the tuition tax credit. He also asked institutions of higher education to keep costs down and was blunt in his commitment to making postsecondary education more affordable, saying, “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Department of Labor Announces New Workforce Innovation Fund Grants

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

On December 22, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced the availability of $98.5 million in new Workforce Innovation Fund grants. These grants provide funding for programs that support, evaluate and enhance workforce investment strategies, particularly for vulnerable populations. The three stated goals of the grants are: better results for jobseekers and employers, greater efficiency in the delivery of quality services, and stronger cooperation across programs and funding streams.

Grants will be awarded in one of three categories:

Eligible entities include state workforce agencies, local workforce investment boards, and tribes, tribal consortia, or tribal non-profit organizations that are eligible to apply for WIA Section 166 grants. Grant applications are due March 22, 2012.

More information can be found here.

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, WIA, Job Training

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Perkins Funding Still in Jeopardy

The continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress last month is set to expire on December 16. Having passed three of the 12 appropriations bills, Congress must now pass the remaining nine bills or another CR. Their goal is to package all nine bills in an omnibus bill and pass it next week. However, if this does not happen, Congress can either pass another short-term CR to buy more time, or include all compromised bills in the omnibus and fund the remaining bills under a year-long CR.

Unfortunately, some of these bills, including Labor-HHS-Education, are so controversial that Congress may choose not work out a deal and instead will fund them under a year-long CR. If this happens, the 1.5% cut applied to Perkins Act advanced appropriations in a previous CR would remain. This would mean that states will not get that money back, and it would set the level for Perkins funding lower for next year. But, if a final Labor-HHS-Education bill is passed and it contains level funding for Perkins, then states will get that money back.

So, the fight is not yet over and we need your help! Call your Member of Congress today and encourage them to work to complete the remaining appropriations bills and to fund the Perkins Act at FY11 levels. You can reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senators’ and/or Representative’s office.

Bills Introduced

Workforce Investment Act

House Republicans introduced two bills this week that will serve as the basis for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization in the House.

Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act

Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC) introduced H.R. 3610, the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act, which would consolidate 33 of the 47 job training programs identified in a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office as duplicative into four flexible Workforce Investment Funds. These funds would focus on adults, youth, veterans and special populations. This bill would also require states and locals to set common performance measures for all employment and job training programs.

The Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act also allows states to submit a unified plan encompassing two or more job training and related programs. Both Perkins secondary and postsecondary programs are eligible to be a part of a state’s unified plan.

Local Job Opportunities and Business Success (Local JOBS) Act

Rep. Joe Heck (NV) introduced H.R. 3611, the Local Job Opportunities and Business Success (Local JOBS) Act. The goal of this bill is to ensure that the nation’s job training system can effectively provide workers with the skills necessary to compete in the local workforce. To that end, the bill would require that two-thirds of workforce investment board members be employers; that a portion of resources (as determined by the local WIB) be spent directly on training; and that local boards partner with higher education institutions and economic development organizations to better develop job training programs that address the needs of area businesses.

Bipartisan Jobs Creation Act

Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Claire McCaskill (MO) this week announced the Bipartisan Jobs Creation Act legislation which is aimed at creating jobs by cutting taxes for businesses, investing in transportation infrastructure, and consolidating federal job training programs. The bill would be paid for by a surtax on taxpayers earning more than $1 million per year and ending subsidies for oil companies. This bill includes two areas of interest:

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: FERPA, WIA, Race to the Top, ESEA

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Department Releases Final FERPA Regulations

The U.S. Department of Education released its final regulations for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act yesterday after soliciting public comments earlier this year. In a statement released by the Department, they stated that “The regulations announced today will strengthen the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by protecting the safety of student information, increasing the Department’s ability to hold those who misuse or abuse student data accountable and ensuring our taxpayer funds are invested wisely and effectively.”

We are still working through the regulations and will update you on anything that relates to CTE.

NSC Releases State-by-State Impact Analysis of Proposed Cuts to WIA

In their draft Labor-HHS-Education funding bill released last month, the House proposed to cut Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs by more than $1.9 billion for FY12. To help states better understand the impact of these cuts, the National Skills Coalition developed a state-by-state impact analysis of proposed cuts to the WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs in FY12. Their analysis finds that as many as 6.5 million jobseekers would lose access to employment and training services if the House funding levels are enacted.

Seven States Apply for Third Round of Race to the Top Grants

As we told you last week, the nine runner-up states in the last round of Race to the Top grants are eligible to apply for the latest round of grants totaling $200 million. The seven states that submitted applications are: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. South Carolina did not submit an application, and California submitted an incomplete application, according to the Department of Education.

States will now have to submit a budget by December 16 for how they would use the grant and identify which part of their Round 2 application they want funded. The Department will announce the winners by the end of December.

Secretary Duncan Voices Concern about ESEA Draft

In a recent radio interview on Bloomberg EDU, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan expressed his concerns with the Senate’s draft ESEA bill. While the Department has been happy with the bipartisan process of crafting the bill, it is not happy with much of the bill’s content, especially teacher evaluation and accountability. However, Duncan hopes that this is just a starting point, and that the bill can be further strengthened:

“There are some good things in the bill, but you don’t want to walk away from accountability, you don’t want to walk away from focusing on achievement gaps, you don’t want to walk away from making sure we’re rewarding great teachers and great principals and shining a spotlight on excellence in education. So you want a good process, but at the end of the day you want really strong policy. And it’s early innings, obviously, in the bill that came out of the Senate HELP committee, and we think it can be strengthened going forward. So I applaud the work that’s gone on so far, clearly not a finished product, but a long way to go.”

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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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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