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Legislative Update: FFA Before Congress, American Jobs Center

Friday, March 16th, 2012

FFA President Testifies before Congress

Yesterday, National FFA President Ryan Best testified before the Senate at a hearing on the 2012 Farm Bill. During his testimony, Best highlighted the successful projects being done by FFA students across the country. He also spoke about the importance of agriculture education and its role in preparing students for postsecondary education and careers in the agriculture industry. Best said that the Farm Bill should support farm programs that strengthen agriculture eduction.

Best is a junior at New Mexico State University majoring in agricultural and extension education.

American Jobs Center

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama spoke about streamlining the workforce system in order to get people back to work more quickly in the jobs that exist today, and better prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.  He said 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.”

To that end, the President is proposing the creation of the American Job Center, designed to be a single point of access to information and services from across the government for companies and individuals. This would include access to job retraining and education opportunities, skills and career development and counseling.

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grants Now Available

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Department of Labor announced the availability of $12 million for Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grants. Grants will allow State Workforce Agencies to develop and use State workforce longitudinal administrative data systems, which include information from programs that provide training, employment services, and unemployment insurance.

Eligible applicants are State Workforce Agencies that were not recipients of a round one WDQI grant. The Department plans to award approximately twelve grants of up to $1 million each for a 36 month grant period.

The deadline to apply for a grant is April 19, 2012. More information can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: CTE Floor Speech, ESEA

Friday, February 17th, 2012

House Member Highlights CTE in Floor Speech

Rep. Jim Langevin (RI), co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, took to the floor of the House yesterday morning to shine a spotlight on CTE and its effectiveness in his state of Rhode Island. National Grid, the primary utility in his state, and the Community College of Rhode Island have come together to offer a program that allows students to earn a certificate in energy utility technology and gives them the opportunity to become new employees.

Mr. Langevin also called on his fellow members of Congress to support the President’s Community College to Career Fund, which would invest $8 billion over three years to advance partnerships between community colleges and businesses, such as National Grid.

NASDCTEc was pleased this week to have Mr. Langevin author a guest blog on the importance of CTE.

House Holds ESEA Hearing

Yesterday the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on two recently introduced pieces of ESEA reauthorization legislation, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act. Chairman John Kline (MN) stated in his opening remarks that these bills provide flexibility to States and districts around teacher evaluation systems, standards, and assessments. Ranking Member George Miller (CA), however, warned that Congress should not promote flexibility at the expense of accountability and that legislation must lead to better outcomes for students.

Rep. Tom Petri (WI) remarked that there are many unemployed individuals in Wisconsin, but that there are also many employers looking to fill jobs – good paying, middle class jobs – due to the mismatch between preparation students are getting and the changing job market. He warned that we need address this skills gap or “we are going to be in a world of trouble.” Mr. Petri wanted to know whether these two pieces of legislation would advance the collaborative efforts being made by states and businesses, such as through the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, to prepare young people for the modern world of work, or whether they would create barriers to these efforts. Tom Luna, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction, said that while the federal government’s role is be to hold states accountable, there needs to be sufficient flexibility because while the problems like those described by Mr. Petri are the same in many states, the solutions are not the same.

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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CTE in the News: Maine Governor Proposes Expansion of CTE, Education Reform

Friday, February 10th, 2012

As part of a string of education proposals intended to provide the broadest scope of opportunities for students, Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s is pitching a plan to enhance Career Technical Education (CTE), according to a recent Morning Sentinel article.

The governor’s proposed legislation calls for better articulation between CTE Centers, and high schools and community colleges, to ensure that students earn academic credits and workforce credentials that are transferable. His CTE proposal is outlined as follows:

An Act to Enhance Career and Technical Education

The legislation suggests that the governor recognizes how CTE can serve as a pipeline for high school students as they enter college and for college students as they step into the workforce, which has heightened standards for higher education and nationally portable credential.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News, Public Policy
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Center for American Progress Proposal Targets Perkins Funding

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently issued a brief, Building a Technically Skilled Workforce, which reminds us that in order for the United States to remain a leader in the global economy, we must ensure that workers have the education and skills to be successful in emerging and high-growth industries.

We agree, and we believe that CTE will play a vital role in preparing our workforce for the future. However, we do not agree with CAP’s proposed use of Perkins Act funding to meet this goal.

In the brief, CAP recommends that a “Community College and Industry Partnership Grant” program should be established to encourage partnerships between community colleges, and business and industry. These partnerships would in turn result in programs that provide credentials which are directly linked to current job requirements and respond to future job openings. CAP proposes that the grants be paid for with postsecondary Perkins Act funding. NASDCTEc believes that, among other things, doing so would hinder the progress the CTE community has made in linking secondary and postsecondary education, a goal reinforced by the Perkins Act.

This proposal is just that – a proposal, and holds no weight in terms of actual legislative authority. However, as reauthorization draws near, we will likely have to fend off proposals like this one that targets the use of Perkins funds

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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CTE Month: Tell the Nation that CTE Works

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Share the CTE: Learning that works for America ™ video

CTE is working across the nation to enable students of all ages to excel in their schools and colleges, and secure high-demand jobs. NASDCTEc has created a video that represents the rich and diverse brand of CTE. It highlights students of a range of talents, backgrounds and ages, and in a mix of industries in which CTE helps student succeed. 

 Let people know that CTE works!

Through February, NASDCTEc will provide members and CTE advocates with resources and simple ways to recognize CTE Month. Take the time to raise awareness and support the entire CTE community!  Visit www.careertech.org for free CTE: Learning that works for America tools.

By Erin in CTE: Learning that works for America
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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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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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