2020 Presidential Election: Policy Recommendations from the Biden Campaign

July 15th, 2020

As part of his presidential campaign platform, former Vice President Joe Biden recently released new policy recommendations ranging on topics from education to climate change to criminal justice reform. These proposals make up the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, and were developed through joint task forces that included Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and supporters of his most recent presidential campaign. 

This document includes a section on “Providing a World-Class Education in Every Zip Code.” There are many intersections with Career Technical Education (CTE) in these policy proposals. For one, Biden calls for expanding access to CTE programs and specifically points out the need to increase CTE funding. The task force states that the country’s education system should prepare learners for “college, careers, and to be informed, engaged citizens of our communities, our country, and our planet.” This means reimagining the education system, for example understanding the many different ways that learning can be demonstrated. The recommendations also cover how to make higher education affordable and accessible- looking to strategies such as doubling the maximum Pell Grant and increasing federal funding for wraparound services. CTE, and apprenticeships in particular, is pointed to as a strategy to offer opportunities for lifelong learning. 

The recommendations include strategies for “Building a Stronger, Fairer Economy.” One piece of this section discusses how to respond to the economic recession and COVID-19 (coronavirus). It has become more clear than ever that a huge gap in Internet access exists, and this is detrimental to educational success and opportunities. The task force recommends that each person in this country have access to high-speed and affordable broadband service. This is a position that Advance CTE agrees with, and has been advocating for in coronavirus response and recovery bills. 

As we near the 2020 presidential election, Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available on candidate platforms. 

You can register for our upcoming webinar: 2020 Elections Landscape: Implications for Career Technical Education to hear from a panel of experts will provide a preview of the 2020 elections at both the national and state level and will discuss how the results of the elections will impact policy overall, and specifically the Career Technical Education system.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand?: Elizabeth Warren

February 20th, 2020

Advance CTE is posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform and is polling above one percent. Check our website to catch up on previous posts!

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign platform has touted the Senator’s broad and detailed platform has “Got a Plan For That,” regardless of the topic. Her platform for education and workforce issues are no exception as these priorities are laid out in great detail on her website. With her background as a special education teacher, and later as a law professor, it is no surprise that education issues are a focal point of her campaign.

Warren’s entire platform places a high value on the role of public education. – “Every kid in America should have the same access to a high-quality public education – no matter where they live, the color of their skin, or how much money their parents make.”.

Specifically, Warren’s K-12 strategy includes:

  • Quadrupling Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title I funding – an additional $450 billion over the next 10 years (on the condition that states are required to contribute additional funding consistently); 
  • An additional $20 billion a year to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants;
  • An additional $100 billion over ten years for “Excellence Grants” to public schools; and 
  • $50 Billion to support school infrastructure.

Warren’s detailed higher education plan calls for a broad investment in our postsecondary institutions and support to help learners and their families with the rising cost of higher education. She notes that her in-state tuition at the University of Houston “was just $50 a semester” and that current student debt is holding back learners and their families. Her postsecondary proposal includes:

  • Eliminating up to $50,000 of debt for household income under $100,000, and tiered debt cancellation amounts up to households earning $250,000 a year.
  • Eliminating the cost of tuition and fees at every public two-year and four-year college in America. This proposal also includes investing an additional $100 billion over ten years in Pell grants, to help support non-tuition expenses.

Her platform intends to pay for these programs through an “Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” a two percent annual tax on families with $50 million or more in wealth. Warren notes that it’s “time to give our schools the support they need to ensure that every student has access to a meaningful, high-quality public education.”

In regards to the workforce development system, her platform similarly has a broad array of topic areas. If elected, Warren plans to:

  • Dramatically scale up apprenticeship programs, which will be supported in part by a $20 billion commitment to apprenticeship programs over the next ten years that can “bring together community colleges, technical schools, unions, and companies.”
  • Institute new sectoral training programs to “help align training with the local job market, leverage the
  •  community college system…” and “…ensure that workers gain skills that are transferable across employers.”
  • Create the Department of Economic Development, which would replace the Commerce Department and many smaller agencies to have a single goal, “creating and defending good American jobs.”
    • This department would create A four year strategic plan called the “National Jobs Strategy” which would specifically address “regional economies and trends that disproportionately affect rural areas and small cities.”
  • Create 10.6 Million Green Jobs.

To learn more information about Warren’s education and workforce platforms, you can visit her platform plans page.

Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy


Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand?: Bernie Sanders

February 13th, 2020

Advance CTE is posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform and is polling above one percent. Check back for the next blog in this series, and catch up on previous posts!

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign platform places importance on increasing equity and access in postsecondary attainment. This is outlined in his “College for All” plan that would make all public colleges and universities tuition free and cancel all existing student debt. Some of the strategies to achieve this include: 

  • Make Public Colleges, Universities and Trade Schools Free to All
    Sanders commits to passing the College for All Act that would allocate at least $48 billion annually to cover tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, trade schools and apprenticeship programs. 
  • Make College Debt-Free for All
    Sanders outlines a number of measures that he would take as president to ensure that students graduate college without debt, such as providing Pell Grants to cover all non-tuition fees and expenses. He would also require participating states and tribes to provide funding to low-income students for any remaining college costs. The federal government would then match any of the additional fees that are funded by states and tribes. Sanders also makes the campaign promise that he would cap student loan interest rates at 1.88 percent. Finally, Sanders states that he would triple the funding for the Federal Work-Study Program. This would allow the program to grow from serving 700,000 students to 2.1 million students. Funding would be targeted to colleges that have large numbers of low-income students enrolled.  
  • Invest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions
    In his platform, Sanders commits to putting $1.3 billion into private, non-profit Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). This funding would either eliminate or reduce tuition and additional fees. 
  • End Equity Gaps in Higher Education Attainment
    Sanders calls out the need to support students before and during college so that they can be successful. Sanders plans to do this by doubling the funding for Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) and increasing the funding for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). This expanded funding would allow 1.5 million students to participate in TRIO and GEAR UP participation to grow by over 100,000 students. 

Sanders also outlines a “Jobs for All” proposal that would essentially be a guarantee from the federal level that each individual is able to have a stable job that pays a living salary. The campaign also promises to create 20 million jobs, coinciding with the Green New Deal, that would be needed to build infrastructure and create a sustainable energy system. New jobs would also be created in healthcare services and early childhood education.

To learn more about Sanders’ education and workforce development plans you can check out his campaign platform.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand?: Amy Klobuchar

January 31st, 2020

Advance CTE is posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform and is polling above one percent. Check back for the next blog in this series, and catch up on previous posts!

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar presidential campaign platform includes an agenda for “Shared Prosperity and Economic Justice,” that outlines how education can be more accessible and equitable, as well as connect to workforce development. Klobuchar’s platform includes a postsecondary education plan “for affordable education that connects students with the jobs of today.” The details of this plan cover a number of ways that postsecondary education can be more affordable and support success in the workforce. 

  • Provide Tuition Free One and Two-Year Community College Degrees and Technical Certifications, Promote Apprenticeships, and Respect the Dignity of Work
    Klobuchar proposes a new federal-state partnership to cover the cost of tuition for one and two-year degrees at community colleges, technical certifications and industry-recognized credentials. Klobuchar also shares that she will connect students to jobs by working with high schools, community colleges, universities, business, labor unions, trade associations and job training centers to ensure that students have the information they need about the types of credentials and education needed for different careers, job availability and projections in those careers and expected wages. Support for apprenticeships is emphasized in this plan, and Klobuchar has the goal of doubling the number of apprenticeships throughout her potential first term. She plans for her Secretary of Labor to explore how apprenticeships meet in-demand occupations and create a national campaign in order to achieve that goal. Improving tax incentives for retraining and postsecondary education is also part of this agenda. Klobuchar outlines her proposed Progress Partnerships, that among other things would incentivize state education departments to evaluate and update school curricula to improve career readiness and postsecondary outcomes. Klobuchar makes a campaign promise to help districts take on the tuition costs of dual enrollment.
  • Lower the Cost of College and Reduce the Burden of Student Loans
    This proposal includes a commitment to double the maximum Pell Grant and increase eligibility to families making up to $100,000 per year, as well as ensuring that Pell Grant levels keep up with inflation. Klobuchar will also support states in creating microgrant programs to assist with non-tuition expenses and pilot projects for federal housing to students, as well as expand SNAP eligibility benefits for low-income students. Klobuchar also commits to simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). She shares that she will overhaul the current Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, including expanding to borrowers in in-demand occupations.
  • Support Multiple Paths to Success and Invest in Retraining
    Klobuchar plans to establish a new tax credit for employers to invest in training for employees who would otherwise be laid off through on-site training or by providing paid time off for off-site training. To be eligible for these tax credits the training would have to result in an industry-recognized credential, certificate or degree. Klobuchar also commits to reversing the current administration’s proposal to cut basic education programs for adults. Support for stackable credentials is outlined in this agenda, and Klobuchar shares that she will encourage states to work along with employers, unions, trade associations and community colleges to build stackable credential opportunities for in-demand occupations that offer necessary workplace skills while also moving toward a degree. In addition, this plan commits to starting a grant program for skills-based education so that students can receive academic credit for prior skills and knowledge. Klobuchar will also improve GED programs by connecting them to community college curricula and career skills.
  • Provide All Students Opportunities for Success
    Klobuchar shares that she will expand Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) opportunities, especially for underrepresented groups of students. She will also create a new Pathways to Student Success Initiative that would provide participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) with federal funding to either waive or reduce the first two years of tuition at a four-year school for low-income students. Tribal College and Universities (TCUs) would also be eligible for the Pathway to Student Success Initiative. Additionally, Klobuchar would expand the TRIO and GEAR UP programs, as well as make sure that they are funded at the needed level. This proposal includes supports for veterans through updated education, career counseling and college veteran education centers. 

Klobuchar’s platform covers a “Plan for the Future of Work and a Changing Economy” that promotes success for each individual. This includes building a 21st century workforce in which the education system is coordination with workforce and economic needs, as well as offering additional support to communities that need it in the changing economy. 

To learn more about Klobuchar’s education and workforce development plans you can check out her campaign platform.   

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand?: Pete Buttigieg

January 22nd, 2020

Advance CTE is posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform and is polling above one percent. Check back for the next blog in this series, and catch up on previous posts!

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign platform supports Career Technical Education (CTE) by calling for doubling the annual investments in CTE programs in high schools and colleges. His plan for supporting and expanding CTE opportunities are listed out in “The American Opportunity Agenda: Affordable College, Stronger Workforce Development, & Lifelong Learning.” This agenda is comprised of three parts that would support access to training and education with the intention of ensuring success for individuals and the greater economy.

  • Improve College Affordability and Completion
    Buttigieg plans to make college free for low-income students by providing free tuition and financial support for living expenses. This would be done through partnerships between states and the federal government and would make public tuition free for students who are Pell Grant eligible and for all families earning up to $100,000. Buttigieg would also invest $120 billion into the Pell Grant program to in order to cover the cost of tuition and basic living expenses. He plans to increase the size of the maximum Pell Grant allotment as well, and connect it to inflation. Buttigieg also commits to supporting college completion in ways such as creating a $1 billion community college fund to invest in local communities and respond to barriers that college students face, as well as reforming the Federal Work-Study Program to make sure that funding is allocated to models that allow students to work in fields aligned with their career-goals. Buttigieg also supports removing the ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals and expanding the Second Chance Pell program. 
  • Invest in the American Workforce
    Buttigieg makes the campaign promise that he would invest $50 billion into the skills of the country’s workforce. This would include doubling annual investments in high school and college CTE programs. Funding would also go to state and industry partnerships that would give all high school students in CTE programs free college credit, the opportunity to earn industry credentials and participate in work-based learning. In addition, he would implement a tax deduction for employers that offer paid work experience in ways such as internships and youth apprenticeships.

    Another component of the skills investment would be a $10 billion investment in registered apprenticeships. Buttigieg outlines that he would build upon the Registered Apprenticeship system through the National Apprenticeship Act and invest $1 billion annually to double the number of apprentices- with a focus on nontraditional industry sectors. In particular, Buttigieg plans to do the following: develop a challenge grant program for states; create industry-specific centers of excellence to work with employers and intermediary organizations; incentivize employers to participate and invest in apprenticeship programs and build a federal apprenticeship service.

    Buttigieg would also form a presidential “Skills Cabinet” tasked with creating and investing in a skills strategy for the country based on best practices across states. The Secretaries of Commerce, Education and Labor would need to work with industry and labor leaders to create a five-year skills strategy. There would be about a $2 billion annual investment in workforce programs and partnerships, based on the Skills Cabinet strategy, that support collaboration between the economic development and lifelong learning efforts.

    This campaign also outlines a $100 million annual investment in scaling local public-private workforce partnerships with the intention of building “talent ecosystems” that connect education, economic development and workforce development. This funding would be allocated through performance grants in regional workforce partnerships based on successful practices.  
  • Strengthening College Transparency, Safety, and Oversight
    One way that Buttigieg plans to increase transparency is by providing important outcomes information to students about colleges that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. This data would be available to the public in a user-friendly manner. 

You can read Buttigieg’s full proposals for the above three strategies in “The American Opportunity Agenda: Affordable College, Stronger Workforce Development, & Lifelong Learning.”

To learn more about Buttigieg’s education and workforce development plans you can check out his campaign platform.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand?: Michael Bloomberg

January 16th, 2020

Advance CTE is posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform and is polling above one percent. Check back for the next blog in this series, and catch up on previous posts!

Former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg calls out Career Technical Education (CTE) as its own specific piece of his campaign positioning. He names CTE as a way to provide individuals with the skills they need to find career success. Bloomberg makes the campaign promise that he will “invest in pathways that create new opportunities and access to well-paying jobs for all Americans.”

Bloomberg goes into more detail about his “All-In Economy” agenda that would support individuals in getting higher paying and higher quality jobs, as well as modernize education and training practices to provide adults with the skills and credentials needed for careers that offer upward mobility and income growth. This strategy is comprised of five pillars: “Make education and training a national priority; create the jobs of the future in communities today; make work pay; tap into the job-creating energy of entrepreneurs; and connect rural communities.”

In particular, the modernizing education and training piece of the agenda would be the highest priority assigned to the administration’s Vice President. The Vice President would be tasked with working with states, employers, community and technical colleges and other relevant parties to provide millions of people with the skills needed for a career. This would be achieved through: 

  • Training and Retraining
    Bloomberg intends to provide every state with grants to improve career-training systems and programs that are specific to the skills and credentials identified by employers as necessary for in-demand jobs and careers. Bloomberg’s plan requires significant new investments in community and technical colleges and partnerships with employers. In addition, employers, industry groups and educators would collaborate regionally and nationally to define credentials and develop impactful curricula. Part of the grant funding would be competitive and allocated to innovation and scaling up successful and inclusive programs that end with credential attainment.
  • Apprenticeships
    Bloomberg set the goal that “by 2030, one million students annually will enroll in apprenticeship degrees and quality credential programs.” This would mean that youth and adult learners would participate in paid on-the-job learning that is related to classroom and results in both academic credit and employer-valued credentials. This plan includes grants for partnerships that include educational and training institutions as well as employers to create and scale programs. Bloomberg would also provide funding for state and local intermediaries.
  • Helping Working Adults Transition into Different Jobs and Careers
    This component of Bloomberg’s platform addresses the modernization of education and training systems that he plans to undertake. To achieve this Bloomberg would provide innovation grants to education providers and employers to meet the needs of both full and part-time adult learners. Included in this strategy is Pell Grant eligibility for short-term programs.
  • Expanding and Extending Access
    The way that Bloomberg plans to expand and extend access is by making programs more affordable. One way this would be done is by expanding Pell Grant eligibility to short-term programs. In addition, Bloomberg shares that he will open Pell Grant funds to incarcerated individuals.

Bloomberg’s campaign platform also prioritizes Education & College Access by “improving schools and student achievement.” For example, Bloomberg states that increasing student achievement, college preparedness and career readiness would be a national priority if he wins the election. He supports this by sharing his current work leading efforts nationally to increase college enrollment for low-income students. 

To read more about Bloomberg’s education and workforce development platforms you can check out his campaign website

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand: Joe Biden

January 9th, 2020

Advance CTE is posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform and is polling above one percent. Check back for the next blog in this series!

In his campaign platform, former Vice President Joe Biden includes proposals related to Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development. He calls out “guaranteeing every American the skills and education they need to get ahead” as a pillar of his vision for the country. The husband of an educator, Biden makes the campaign promise that as president he would provide each middle and high school learner with a path to a career. Specifically, there are two avenues that he focuses on to build CTE opportunities and set learners up for success in higher education and the workforce: 

  • Ensure middle and high schools prepare students for good jobs.
    Biden notes that “students who participate in high-quality career and technical education are more likely to graduate, earn industry credentials, enroll in college, and have higher rates of employment and higher earnings.” He shares that he would support CTE by investing in partnerships between high schools, community colleges and employers. Through these partnerships, learners would have the opportunity to earn an industry credential at the time of high school graduation. Biden also stipulates that these credentials would lead to a good-paying career. In addition, Biden calls out how CTE programs can provide middle and high school learners access to computer science classes that are needed for emerging fields such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
  • Create more opportunities for high school students to take practical classes that lead to credentials.
    Biden states that he would invest in and expand Pell Grant eligibility to include dual- enrollment programs. These programs would allow for learners to take classes at a community college and would result in college credits or a credential ahead of high school graduation.

Biden also prioritizes “investing in all children from birth, so that regardless of their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability, they are prepared to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.” He calls out the reality that about six out of ten jobs in this country require some education beyond high school, and that each learner must have access to an education system that begins at birth and continues past high school. There are a number of strategies that Biden would implement to achieve this goal. For one, Biden would work to improve teacher diversity in ways such as supporting dual enrollment courses that lead into teacher preparation programs, provide paraprofessionals with the opportunity to work toward a teaching certificate and working with historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions to recruit and train teachers. He also would take measures to ensure innovative schools are located in traditionally underserved areas by creating a new competitive program for communities to rethink how high school can prepare learners for the skills needed in today’s workforce.

Biden’s full education priorities cover how to: 

  • “Support our educators by giving them the pay and dignity they deserve.
  • Invest in resources for our schools so students grow into physically and emotionally healthy adults, and educators can focus on teaching. 
  • Ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability.
  • Provide every middle and high school student a path to a successful career. 
  • Start investing in our children at birth.”

To read more about Biden’s education platform you can check out his campaign website.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate