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Posts Tagged ‘WIA’

Legislative Update: Debt Ceiling, WIA Markup Delayed, Bills Introduced

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Leaders in Washington continue to struggle as the August 2nd deadline for lifting the federal debt ceiling approaches (See “Debt Limit Deal” in last week’s update). At President Obama’s request, the Senate recess scheduled for next week has been cancelled to continue work on the debt ceiling.

Obama held a press conference this week to reaffirm that revenues must be included in any deficit reduction plan. Republicans and Democrats remain at an impasse over the inclusion of revenues in the package, but Obama stated that both parties had already identified more than $1 trillion in spending cuts. In his speech, the President referred to his support of a manufacturing initiative that would enable 500,000 workers to receive skills and training to fill manufacturing job vacancies. He also said that education will continue to be funded.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, released a statement yesterday strongly opposing cuts to areas of non-defense discretionary spending, such as education. Sen. Inouye wrote “The focus of our deficit talks should not be on domestic discretionary spending, but on the real reason why we are not running a surplus: historically low revenues, soaring mandatory spending, and the cost of war.”

In other news, the Senate was scheduled to markup the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) this week but the markup has been pushed back to mid-July.

Bills Introduced:

Manufacturing Reinvestment Account Act

Sen. Blumenthal (CT) introduced S. 1237, the Manufacturing Reinvestment Account Act, that would make it easier for manufacturers to invest new capital into equipment, facilities, and job training to enable them to grow and create more jobs. This bill supports President Obama’s recent initiative to increase job training in the manufacturing sector.

Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act

Rep. Polis (CO) introduced H.R. 2315, the Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act. The bill would help recruit, train and place more women into high tech and advanced manufacturing fields. Currently, women account for only one-quarter of the workforce in these areas.

Reengaging Americans in Serious Education by Uniting Programs (RAISE UP) Act

Sen. Stabenow (MI) introduced S. 1279, the Reengaging Americans in Serious Education by Uniting Programs Act (RAISE UP). The bill would coordinate existing programs to improve services to youth who have dropped out of high school. Students would be put on track to attain a high school diploma, postsecondary credential, and career that provides a family-sustaining wage.

America Recruits Act

Sen. Warner (VA) introduced S. 1247, the America Recruits Act, that would develop and recruit new, high-value jobs to the United States and encourage off-shore jobs to be brought back and filled by American workers.

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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Final WIA/Perkins Dear Colleague Letter Signed by 29 Senators

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Thank you for reaching out to your Senators to support Perkins and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding through Sen. Blumenthal’s recent Dear Colleague letter. The letter was closed out last Friday with a respectable 29 signatures from the following Members:

Blumenthal (CT)
Collins (ME)
Rockefeller (WV)
Snowe (ME)
Begich (AK)
Kerry (MA)
Gillibrand (NY)
Levin (MI)
Leahy (VT)
Wyden (OR)
Sanders (VT)
Lautenberg (NJ)
Franken (MN)
Cantwell (WA)
Merkley (OR)
Kohl (WI)
Schumer (NY)
Stabenow (MI)
Tim Johnson (SD)
Tom Udall (NM)
Boxer (CA)
Akaka (HI)
Menendez (NJ)
Cardin (MD)
Durbin (IL)
Whitehouse (RI)
Tester (MT)
Reed (RI)
Lieberman (CT)

The letter will be sent to the chairman and ranking member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee for review.

By Kara in Public Policy
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Obama Supports Initiative to Increase Manufacturing Job Training

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

President Barack Obama announced his support today for expanding Skills for America’s Future, an industry-led initiative to partner community colleges and businesses to meet the demands of the labor market. Specifically, Obama stressed the importance of increasing job training in the manufacturing sector, an area that he views as critical to strengthening and rebuilding the economy.

Plans to increase the reach of Skills for America’s Future include helping 500,000 community college students to earn industry-recognized credentials, and providing a website to connect job-seekers to businesses. The President added that more high school students will have an opportunity to earn college credits. The initiative would benefit industry as well as students by addressing the current mismatch between skills earned by students and those required to fill vacant positions.

Applause erupted from the audience, filled with business and non-profit leaders, when Obama pushed Congress to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) soon. He wants the new legislation to build on innovative and effective programs, and to eliminate ineffective programs.

“Right now, there are people across America with talents just waiting to be tapped, sparks waiting to be lit,” Obama said. “Our job is to light them and there’s no time to lose when we’ve got folks looking for work, when we’ve got companies that need to stay competitive in this 21st Century economy, and when we know that we’ve got to rebuild the middle class. A lot of that’s going to have to do with how well we do in manufacturing and how well we do in jobs that are related to making products here in the United States of America.”

Career Technical Education (CTE) offers tremendous opportunities for and access to training in the manufacturing sector. Industry-verified Knowledge and Skills Statements ensure that students graduate from CTE programs with the skills demanded by industry.

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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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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House Hearing on Consolidating Federal Job Training Programs

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training held a hearing yesterday to consider ways to consolidate and improve federal job training programs.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC), chairwoman of the Subcommittee, voiced concern about wasteful spending after a recent report, produced by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), noted that 44 of 47 federal job training programs overlap with at least one other program.

The Subcommittee and witnesses reviewed instances of program overlap, as well as state and local efforts to consolidate job training programs. Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation and the Texas Workforce Commission were cited as successful examples. Witnesses from both states advocated for program consolidation and described the positive effects in their states.

The author of the GAO report, also a witness, recommended collocating services and staff through a one-stop shop approach.

A witness from the Center for Law and Social Policy was concerned about losing valuable job training programs. She said that programs may overlap, but that does not mean the services are duplicative.

Rep. Ruben E. Hinojosa (TX) agreed that job training programs are valuable, and emphasized that adult education and workforce development must be a priority. He also would like to see the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) improved and reauthorized in this Congress.

Click here to view the archived hearing and transcripts.

By Kara in Public Policy
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Spring Meeting: Legislative Implications for CTE

Friday, April 29th, 2011

The CTE community should prepare for a fight to restore federal Perkins funds, which took its first hit in the FY11 appropriations bill, warned education policy experts at the NASDCTEc /OVAE Joint Spring Leadership Meeting last week.

The FY11 funding bill cut $140.2 million from Perkins, including completely eliminating funding for Tech Prep and cutting Basic State Grants by $37.3 million, said Jamie Baxter, Advocacy Manager of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).  The cut will impact funds for the 2011-2012 school year.

Moreover, experts predict that the FY11 bill indicates that funding levels for FY12 may be poised for a similar fate. Thus far, the House has passed their FY12 budget resolution, which proposes to set non-security discretionary spending below 2008 levels and freeze it for five years. The resolution sets spending for Department of Education programs at $360 billion, which is the same as the FY06 level.

Rachel Gragg, Federal Policy Director for National Skills Coalition, said there is a new urgency to push for reauthorization of legislation such as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which funds education and training programs that are of interest to the CTE community. Rising concerns regarding duplicative and ineffective programs will likely endanger funding for such legislation. The strategy to maintain funding would be to expedite reauthorization with the assurance that new language will ensure the support of quality effective programs, she said. On a similar note, Perkins is up for legislation in 2012.

Spiros Protopsaltis, Education Policy Advisor for Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, urged the CTE community to focus on advocacy efforts that highlight the strong role CTE plays in preparing students for college and career. Addressing that broad overall goal will appeal to Congress and the Administration, which are seeking investments that will prepare students to compete in the global economy and position the nation to succeed.

“CTE has an important role to play,” Protopsaltis said.

By Erin in Public Policy
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Update on FY11 Budget Cuts; Tech Prep Eliminated, BSG Cut

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

We learned yesterday afternoon from Congressional sources that the $138 million cut to CTE in the FY11 appropriations bill will be the total elimination of Tech Prep and an additional $35 million cut from the Basic State Grant. The rationale given was that the President had also proposed cutting Perkins in this FY12 budget. It seems that without Democratic or Republican support, we were a target during the tense negotiations last week.

In addition to the cuts to Perkins, we have learned that the following other programs have been cut or eliminated:

The bill would, however, fund a new $125 million DOL-administered “Workforce Innovation Fund” that would provide competitive grants to states or other partnerships for projects that “demonstrate innovative strategies or replicate effective evidence-based strategies” to strengthen and align the workforce system to improve participant outcomes.

Please note that in addition to the cuts listed above, the bill includes a 0.2 percent across-the-board reduction for all non-defense programs, which is not reflected in these totals.

By Nancy in Legislation
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OVAE Announces Goals for 2011-12

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Last month the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education announced that in 2011 they will be focused on the several key areas in an effort to link education and economic opportunity. First, OVAE will work to support rigorous programs of study, funded by the Carl D. Perkins Act, that prepare young people for college and careers through postsecondary credentials completion. Second, they will serve 93 million adults in the U.S. whose basic or below-basic literacy levels limit their career opportunities, through funding from WIA Title II and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act. And finally, OVAE will improve the capacity of community colleges to meet today’s education and labor market demands.

To achieve these ends, OVAE has developed three goals for 2011–12:

1.      All youths and adults are ready for, have access to, and complete college and career pathways.

2.      All youths and adult students have effective teachers and leaders.

3.      All youths and adult students have equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities on demand.

“Enhancing our approach to career and technical education to prepare students for high-growth careers, we are particularly supportive of rigorous, relevant programs of study that span the secondary and postsecondary systems and that apply classroom-based instruction and work-based learning to meet academic, employability, and technical industry standards. This systemic approach relies on partnerships among K–12 schools, institutions of higher education, and employers.”

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Rep. Kline Outlines Education and Labor Priorities

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

With election day behind us and a shift in power in the House that leaves the future of a variety of policy issues uncertain, Rep. John Kline, the current ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee (and potential chair during the next session), wasted no time in outlining his priorities for the committee. In a press release issued today, Kline set forth broad policy areas that the committee will focus on to “promote American competitiveness and hold government accountable.” Chief among his concerns is job creation and turning around the economy. Other priority issues that the committee will address in the 112th Congress include:

It remains to be seen what impact the change in House leadership and a divided Congress will have on pending legislation such the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Workforce Investment Act. Will Congress come together to pass these vitally important pieces of legislation? Or will the gridlock in Washington continue?

By Nancy in Legislation
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New Federal Career Pathways Funding Toolkit Available

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

In an effort to support inter-agency state teams to identify and use federal resources that support career pathways and career pathway bridge models, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) has recently released a toolkit to support state planning and design. The resource provides a Funding Options Worksheets and information on ten Federal programs that can interweave the legislative priorities or “braid” the design and development of career pathways and bridges in a more thoughtful and effective manner. The toolkit also may assist teams to identify state policy barriers to using federal resources and strategies for managing the challenges.

More information and links to the toolkit, released as part of its forthcoming Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is available under Funding Career Pathways and Career Pathway Bridges: A Federal Policy Toolkit for States at http://www.clasp.org/resources_and_publications/publication?id=0762&list=publications

By Dean in Career Clusters®, News, Publications, Resources
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