Legislative Update: House Appropriations Process and Infrastructure Deal

July 29th, 2021

This week, the appropriations process moved forward in the House. Read below to learn more about the latest movement, as well as an update on a bipartisan Senate infrastructure agreement, newly released higher education stimulus funds and information on how to apply for the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

House Appropriations Process Moves Forward 

This week the House Rules Committee determined which of the proposed 197 amendments filed for the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) bill would be approved for debate. Ultimately, 15 education-related amendments will be considered. One of the amendments, introduced by Representative Cindy Axne (D-IA), adds $5 million for community colleges that provide training programs for dislocated workers. The Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill is part of a seven-bill minibus package (H.R. 402) under consideration by the full House. 

Senate Reaches Agreement on Infrastructure Deal 

On Wednesday night the Senate voted, 67-32, to begin consideration of a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure package that includes $550 billion in new spending. While work on the full bill text has not been finished and released, a fact sheet of the agreement can be found here

The bill includes a $65 billion investment in broadband. This would provide grants to states for broadband deployment, as well as support for broadband affordability, expansion of eligible private activity bond projects to include broadband infrastructure and support for middle-mile deployment efforts. The breakdown of the full broadband funding is as follows: 

  • $40 billion in formula-based grants to states, territories and DC for broadband deployment. This funding also includes a 10 percent set-aside for high-cost areas. Each state and territory would receive an initial minimum allocation, of which a portion could be used for technical assistance in either establishing or supporting a state broadband office; 
  • $600 million for private activity bonds, which would finance broadband deployment for projects in rural areas where a majority of households do not have access to broadband; 
  • $2 billion to support rural areas;
  • $2 billion to the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program; 
  • $2.75 billion in formula-based and competitive grants to promote digital inclusion and equity for communities; 
  • Creation of a state grant program for the construction, improvement or acquisition of middle-mile infrastructure; and 
  • Support for the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which subsidizes broadband services for eligible households. 

ED Announces $3.2 Billion in Emergency Higher Education Grants

Today the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced $3.2 billion in additional emergency grants under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). This funding will support learners at institutions of higher education, as well as provide resources to institutions to help recover from the pandemic. $2.97 billion of the funding is from the American Rescue Plan (ARP), and is comprised of the the following: 

  • $1.6 billion to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); 
  • $143 million to Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs); and 
  • $1.19 billion to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and under-resourced institutions eligible for the Strengthening Institutions Programs (many of which are community colleges). 

Additionally, $225 million of the total funding comes from grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CCRRSAA) to support public and non-profit institutions and their students with unmet needs related to the pandemic. 

Additional information on the ARP, CARES Act and CCRRSAA- including the latest HEERF programs- can be found here

FCC Shares Instructions on Emergency Connectivity Fund

The FCC announced that a webinar on the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) and frequently asked questions will be held on August 3 at 2:00pm ET. Additionally, the FCC provided step-by-step instructions of how to apply for the ECF. Applications for schools and libraries to receive this funding for the 2021-2022 school year are open through August 13. 

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: House, Senate and Administration Support for $100 Billion in Workforce Investment

July 23rd, 2021

This week, the House Education and Labor Committee held a press conference calling for a $100 billion federal investment in workforce programs. Read below to learn more about the outlook for this investment, as well as a House letter in support of workforce funding, a bicameral bill to close the homework gap, the newest approved stimulus funding plans and Senate letter in support of educator investments. 

House Education and Labor Committee Holds Press Conference on Workforce Investments

Written by Jori Houck, Media Relations and Advocacy Associate, Associate for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Original post can be found here

On July 22, the House Education and Labor Committee held a press conference featuring Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten, Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), manufacturing business owner Traci Tapani of Wyoming Machine and National Skills Coalition Executive Director Andy Van Kleunen to express the urgent need to include the $100 billion investment in workforce development laid out in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan proposal as a part of the upcoming reconciliation package.

Chairman Scott noted that workforce development programs have not been properly funded, particularly in any of the pandemic-related stimulus packages, and workers are seeking the skills necessary to be competitive in the workforce. Adding to Chairman Scott’s observations, Secretary Walsh expressed that Career Technical Education (CTE) is an area of priority – 22 million jobs have been lost to the pandemic, and the country is falling behind the pace of change in the workforce. 

Education Deputy Secretary Marten identified CTE as providing critically important opportunities for students and noted that the $10 billion in CTE investments proposed by the Biden Administration will help scale best practices, provide an evidence base for successful CTE programs and support middle and high school career pathways. Marten also cited statistics showing CTE enrollment leads to higher high school graduation rates, increased college enrollment and higher earnings gains. 

Secretary Walsh, Deputy Secretary Marten, Senator Klobuchar and Representative Bonamici each emphasized the importance of apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships and work-based learning. Bonamici highlighted the need to invest in traditionally underinvested workers; Klobuchar drew attention to the fact that every dollar spent on apprenticeships in Minnesota will increase the state’s GDP by $20. 

Bringing the business-owner perspective, Traci Tapani of Minnesota-based Wyoming Machine celebrated the skilled workers who helped the country during the pandemic, but cautioned that the country cannot forget their efforts, and labor shortages have gotten progressively worse for the last decade. Equity efforts are also an area of need, according to Tapani. 

Van Kleunen called on Congress not to negotiate away the $100 billion investment in workforce training originally included in the Administration’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) to help provide those most impacted by the pandemic a chance at a fulfilling career. Citing a figure that 89% of voting Americans think that Congress needs to invest substantially in workforce training, Van Kleunen concluded that investments in workforce development are vital to economic recovery. 

In response to press questions, Chairman Scott expressed his belief that new workforce spending would be included in the final passage of the bill, but he is not approaching negotiations with any deal breaker in mind. Sen. Klobuchar continued that the Senate’s focus is on a bipartisan infrastructure package, in addition to focusing on the budget reconciliation process. 

You can watch the full press conference at the House Education and Labor Committee’s YouTube channel

House Sends Letter Calling for $100 Billion for Workforce Development in Reconciliation Bill

On Thursday, Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Steven Horsford (D-NV) sent a letter signed by 101 members of the House to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The letter requests that at least $100 billion in new spending for workforce development be included in the upcoming reconciliation package. The letter shares data on unemployment trends, worker upskilling and reskilling needs and economic recovery. In light of the changing  21st century economic landscape, the letter also states that federal spending on workforce programs and employment services is at its lowest levels in 50 years and funding for community college CTE programs has decreased by 38% over the last 20 years.  

The letter calls for a minimum of $100 billion in new investments for workforce development programs, including: 

  • CTE; 
  • Registered apprenticeships; 
  • Adult workforce training and dislocated worker programs; 
  • Youth career pipeline programs and re-entry employment opportunities; and
  • The full spectrum of training and career pathway supportive services, including income support, counseling and case management. 

The press release can be viewed here and the full letter here

Congress Introduces Bicameral Legislation to Close the Homework Gap

This week Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chriss Van Hollen (D-MD), as well as Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced the Securing Universal Communications Connectivity Fund to Ensure Students Success (SUCCESS) Act. These members of Congress were joined by 15 other Senators and 25 House members to introduce the bill. The SUCCESS Act would build on the Emergency Connectivity Fund that was established under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and provide schools and libraries with $8 billion per year over five years to ensure Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and internet-enabled devices are available to students, staff and library patrons. This bill continues congressional efforts to close the homework gap seen by 12 to 17 million students who do not have internet access at home. 

The SUCCESS Act would provide the necessary continued funding once the one-time investment provided by the ARP expires. Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill. 

ED Approves More State K-12 Stimulus Plans 

ED announced the approval of additional ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) state plans and distributed remaining funds to those states. The seven approved states and funding levels include:

Kaine Leads Letter Urging Investment in Educator Workforce 

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a Co-Chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, led a letter signed by 13 other Senators to Senate leadership urging them to invest in a well-prepared, diverse, supported and stable educator workforce in upcoming infrastructure legislation. The letter is aligned with the proposed educator investments from the American Families Plan (AFP). Senator Kaine consistently supports workforce development in education. He recently reintroduced the Preparing and Retaining Educational Professionals (PREP) Act, with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), to address teacher and principal shortages. 

The press release can be found here and the full letter here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: House Appropriations Bill and Announcements from ED

July 14th, 2021

This week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies released its Fiscal Year 22 (FY22) funding bill. Read below to learn more about the proposed increase for Career Technical Education (CTE) and other implications for the CTE community, as well as new information from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) about stimulus funding, federal aid and department appointees. 

House Appropriations Subcommittee Releases FY22 Bill

Written by Alisha Hyslop, Director of Public Policy, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Original post can be found here.

On July 11, the House Appropriations Committee released the first draft of its FY22 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which funds education and workforce development programs including Perkins. In the bill, the Perkins Basic State Grant received a $50 million increase over the FY21 level, and $30 million above what the President recommended in his budget proposal in May, for a total funding level of $1.38 billion. While this is still not enough to meet the critical needs in CTE as the economy and educational system recover from the pandemic, it is a step in the right direction.

The bill also matched the President’s request for a $100 million competitive grant program to carry out evidence-based middle and high school career and technical education innovation programs, although few details are included about what this program would entail. Few details are also included about a piece of legislative language that is dropped into the bill to more closely tie apprenticeship programs to Perkins, but more information on that provision will be available as the Committee releases more supporting documents.

Overall, the bill provides $14.7 billion for the Department of Labor, an increase of $2.2 billion above the FY21 level, and a total of $102.8 billion for the Department of Education, an increase of $29.3 billion above the FY21 level. Most of the increases, particularly at the Department of Education, are concentrated on a few large programs that were campaign priorities of the Biden Administration, including Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which received a $19.5 billion increase (more than doubling its current funding), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which received a $3.1 billion increase, and Pell Grants, where the maximum annual award for each student was increased by $400 to a total of $6,895. Additional funding levels of interest to the CTE community include:

  • Federal Work Study – $43 billion, a $244 million (21%) increase over FY 2021
  • ESEA Title II – Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants – $2.3 billion, a $150 million increase over FY 2021
  • ESEA Title IV-A – Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants – $1.3 billion, an $85 million increase over FY 2021
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants – $3.1 billion, an increase of $250 million above the FY 2021 level
  • Registered Apprenticeships – $285 million, an increase of $100 million above the FY 2021 level
  • Strengthening Community College Training Grants – $100 million, an increase of $55 million over the FY 2021 level
  • Adult education – $738.7 million, a $50 million increase over FY 2021

The bill was considered briefly by the Subcommittee on July 12 and approved by voice vote. A report on the draft bill was released on July 14. Additional discussion and amendments are expected in the full Appropriations Committee markup, scheduled for Thursday, July 15, then the bill will need to be approved by the full House, and a similar process will begin in the Senate. There is a long way to go in this year’s appropriations process, so stay tuned for additional information and opportunities to take action!

ED Approves First State K-12 Stimulus Plans 

ED announced the approval of the first seven American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) state plans and distributed remaining funds to those states. The seven approved states and funding levels include:

  • Arkansas: $418,634,738
  • Massachusetts: $611,331,608 
  • Rhode Island: $138,468,766 
  • South Dakota: $127,339,745 
  • Texas: $4,148,464,081 
  • Utah: $205,578,303 
  • Washington, D.C.: $128,932,230 

The state plans share how each state will use the ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the operation of schools, as well as address the needs of students, including by equitably expanding opportunities for students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. 40 states have submitted plans, and you can view submitted and approved plans here. ED is also working with states that were unable to submit plans by the June 7 deadline. 

ED Announces Temporary Changes to the Federal Aid Verification Process

On Tuesday, ED announced temporary changes to the federal student aid verification process for the 2021-2022 academic year with the intention of providing relief to millions of students and colleges impacted by the pandemic. Verification is an administrative process by which ED requires a subset of federal aid applicants who are eligible for Pell Grants to submit additional documentation to verify the information in their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Because non-Pell-eligible applicants are not included in income verification, the process can be disproportionately burdensome for students from low-income households and students of color. The temporary changes to the verification process will focus on identity theft and fraud, and will be coupled with tools ED already uses to monitor suspicious activity. 

ED Announces More Biden-Harris Appointees

More political appointees to ED were announced to lead various parts of the agency, including: 

  • Katy Neas, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
  • Toby Merrill, Deputy General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel
  • Hayley Matz Meadvin, Senior Advisor, Office of the Secretary
  • Chris Soto, Senior Advisor, Office of the Secretary
  • Antoinette Flores, Senior Advisor for ARP Implementation, Office of Postsecondary Education
  • Deven Comen, Chief of Staff, Office of Communications and Outreach
  • Abel McDaniels, Special Assistant, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund and Apprenticeship Grants

July 2nd, 2021

This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened applications for the Emergency Connectivity Fund. Read below to learn more about what this funding covers, as well as grant awards for apprenticeship programs, progress in the postsecondary negotiated rulemaking process and a notice for public comment. 

FCC Opens Application for Emergency Connectivity Fund
On Tuesday FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that schools and libraries can now apply for the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund. The Emergency Connectivity Fund was established through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and provides financial support for laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connections. Eligible schools and libraries can submit applications through August 13 for funding to purchase equipment and services for the 2021-22 school year.

A fact sheet about the program can be found here and frequently asked questions can be found here

DOL Awards Grants to Support Registered Apprenticeships

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced over $130 million awarded in grants to develop, modernize and diversify Registered Apprenticeship Programs in 15 states and establish Registered Technical Assistance Centers of Excellence in three states and Washington, DC. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh shared the following statement about the grants: “Today’s announcement reflects the Department of Labor’s renewed commitment to expanding Registered Apprenticeship to train U.S. workers and ensure that diversity and inclusion are core elements of our nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery. Using Registered Apprenticeships to expand career opportunities for all workers, especially those in under-represented populations, is a priority for the department and a critical component of the Biden-Harris administration’s American Jobs Plan.”

DOL awarded close to $31 million through cooperative agreements to create four Registered Apprenticeship Technical Assistance Centers of Excellence to provide technical support to programs. These centers will support successful and inclusive pipelines, provide technical assistance to employers and industry and work across public and private sector partners to expand apprenticeship opportunities for women, youth, people of color, rural communities, justice-involved individuals and people with disabilities. 

The full list of states and organizations that are recipients of this grant can be found here

ED Begins Postsecondary Negotiated Rulemaking Process

Over the course of three days (June 21-24), the U.S. Department of Education (ED) held virtual public hearings for stakeholder input on proposed federal student aid policies. This started the negotiated rulemaking process. Following these three hearings, ED will look for nominations of non-federal negotiators to serve on negotiated rulemaking committees that will review regulatory issues to improve outcomes for students- likely to convene later this summer. 

ED Invites Public Comment for Future Discretionary Grants

Secretary Cardona proposed, and opened for public comment, six priorities and related definitions for use in future discretionary grant programs. These are aligned with evidence-based and capacity-building strategies to address interconnected policy issues within the country’s education system with a focus on creating conditions to provide equitable access to educational opportunities. Career Technical Education (CTE) that is equitable and high-quality comes up throughout the priorities. Comments can be submitted through July 30, 20201. Additional information about the notice and comment submission can be found here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: Congressional Hearings and Updates from ED

June 17th, 2021

This week, the House held its final hearing on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) reauthorization. Read below to learn more about this hearing, as well as a hearing on the federal education budget and movement in the appropriations process, newly shared state plans for stimulus K-12 funds, a new statement on Title IX and more education appointees. 

House Subcommittee Holds WIOA Hearing

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing on “WIOA Reauthorization: Examining Successful Models of Employment for Justice-Involved Individuals.” The following witnesses provided testimony and then answered questions from committee members: 

  • Ms. Traci Scott, Vice President of the Workforce Development Division, National Urban League;
  • Mr. Gregg Keesling, President of DBA RecycleForce Workforce, Inc., Indianapolis, IN; 
  • Dr. Pamela Lattimore, Senior Director for Research Development for the Division for Applied Justice Research, RTI International; and 
  • Ms. Wendi Safstrom, Executive Director, SHRM Foundation.

Safstrom is also a member of the Advance CTE Board. Common themes that came up throughout the hearing were the need to look at the full workforce ecosystem and engage all stakeholders, the importance of wraparound supports for reentry into the workforce and understanding the full background of justice-involved individuals to learn about the scope of resources that best suits their needs.

Advance CTE’s recommendations for reauthorization of WIOA can be found here. A recording of the full hearing as well as member statements and witness testimonies can be found here

Cardona Testifies to Senate on FY22 Budget Proposal
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) on the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education (ED). In her opening statement, Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) emphasized the need for the federal education budget to increase not only because of the needs pre-pandemic, but because of the inequities that were increased because of the pandemic. Subcommittee Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO) spent time in his opening remarks to say that he is a proud supporter of the Career Technical Education (CTE) Perkins Basic State Grant. 

You can follow this link to advocate for CTE funding in FY22 by asking your Senator to sign the “Dear Colleague letter” supporting robust CTE funding. A recording of the full hearing as well as Secretary Cardona’s testimony can be found here

ED Posts State Plans for Use of K-12 Stimulus Funds 

On Monday ED announced that the 28 plans submitted by State Education Agencies (SEAs) describing use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to support schools, students and educators have been posted to the ED website while awaiting approval from the department. The ARP ESSER Fund provides nearly $122 billion to states to support the nation’s schools in safely reopening and sustaining safe in-person operations while meeting the social, emotional, mental health and academic needs of students impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

ED shared that plans highlight the following strategies:

  • Accelerating and sustaining the safe return to in-person instruction; 
  • Implementing coronavirus prevention and mitigation strategies, including expanding access to vaccinations for school staff and students; 
  • Offering summer learning and enrichment programs; 
  • Providing social, emotional and mental health support to students; and
  • Addressing the academic impact of lost instructional time. 

ARP ESSER state plans were submitted by Arkansas, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. ED is also working with states that were unable to submit plans by the June 7 deadline. 

House Approves Total Spending Level for FY22 

Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here.  

On Monday, the House approved a resolution, along party lines, that would set the topline discretionary spending level for House appropriators for fiscal year (FY) 2022 to $1.506 trillion. The “deeming resolution,” however, does not specify the 302(a) allocations, which are the topline funding levels for both defense and nondefense discretionary spending. Once those are set, House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) can begin to establish the 302(b) allocations for each of the twelve spending bills prior to the beginning of subcommittee mark-ups, which are slated to begin June 24.

Under normal circumstances, the budget resolution is an agreement between the House and Senate on a budgetary plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Once agreed to by both chambers, the budget resolution creates parameters that may be enforced by points of order and using the budget reconciliation process. When the House and Senate do not reach an agreement on this plan, Congress may employ alternative legislative tools to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution, which are usually called “deeming resolutions.” It is important to note that deeming resolutions do not include reconciliation instructions to authorizing committees, so in order for House Democrats to implement the Administration’s infrastructure and other spending plans, they will still need to introduce and pass a budget resolution for FY 2022.

The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee is expected to mark-up their proposal on July 12, according to a recent announcement from the chairwoman. Typically, the committee does not announce programmatic funding levels prior to the mark-up, so this should provide the first look at the committee’s funding priorities for FY 2022.  

ED Confirms Title IX Protects Students from Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

ED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced a new Notice of Interpretation stating that it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity offered by a recipient of federal financial assistance. This follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County that it is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person based on sex. 

Last week a report from OCR found that the vulnerability of LGBTQ+ students has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving them without access to school-based mental health services and other supports. One survey found that 78 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth reported that their mental health was “poor” either all or most of the time during the pandemic , compared with 61 percent of cisgender youth.

ED Announces More Biden-Harris Appointees

More political appointees for ED were announced, including two positions within the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE): Emily Lamont and Elias Romans, both Special Assistants. The full list of most recent ED appointees includes: 

  • Alice Abrokwa, Senior Counsel, Office for Civil Rights
  • Elizabeth Baer, Deputy Director of Scheduling, Office of the Secretary
  • Larry Bowden, Special Assistant, Office of the Secretary
  • Miriam Calderon, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy and Early Learning, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Cristina Flores, Director of Scheduling, Office of the Secretary
  • Anna Hartge, Special Assistant, Office of the Secretary
  • Rachel Hegarty, Confidential Assistant, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development
  • Emily Lamont, Special Assistant, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
  • Kevin Lima, Special Assistant, Office of Communications and Outreach
  • Ben Martel, Confidential Assistant, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs
  • Clare McCann, Special Assistant, Office of the Under Secretary
  • Gypsy Moore, Senior Counsel, Office of the General Counsel
  • Keigo O’Haru, Confidential Assistant, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Elias Romanos, Special Assistant, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
  • Sebastian Rozo, Confidential Assistant, Office of the Under Secretary
  • Marco Sanchez, Special Assistant, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs
  • Tiffany Taber, Managing Writer, Office of Communications and Outreach
  • Kalila Winters, Special Assistant, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs
  • Addie Zinsner, Confidential Assistant, Office for Civil Rights

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: ED Releases Actions to Advance Equity and COVID-19 Handbook Volume 3

June 11th, 2021

This week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced new actions that will be taken to advance equity in education. Read below to learn more about the initiative, including an Equity Summit Series launching on June 22nd, as well as the third COVID-19 (coronavirus) handbook from ED and a status update on the expansion of Pell Grant eligibility to short-term programs. 

ED Announces Actions to Advance Equity in Education 

On Thursday ED announced new actions that will be taken to advance equity in education to ensure each learner is served. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the following regarding this announcement: “This is our moment as educators and as leaders to transform our education systems so they are truly serving all of our nation’s students. While COVID-19 has worsened many inequities in our schools and communities, we know that even before the pandemic, a high-quality education was out of reach for too many of our nation’s students and families. Our mission at the Department is to safely reopen schools for in-person learning, dramatically increase investments in communities that for too long have been furthest from opportunity, and reimagine our schools so that all students have their needs met. We must take bold action together to ensure our nation’s schools are defined not by disparities, but by equity and opportunity for all.”

Below are the actions that are part of this initiative.

  • The Department will launch an Equity Summit Series starting on June 22nd.
    The Educational Equity Summit Series will launch virtually on June 22nd with a focus on how schools and campuses can make positive changes as they continue to reopen for in-person instruction, instead of returning to the status quo. The first session of the series will explore how schools and communities can reimagine school systems so that each learner has a voice- particularly those from underserved communities, including communities of color, students with disabilities and multilingual students. The session will also include discussions on how each learner can access a high-quality education that is responsive to their needs, and how schools can be responsive and inclusive of all learning environments. 
  • The Department released a new report highlighting the disparate impacts the coronavirus has had on underserved communities.
    ED’s Office of Civil Rights released a new report that highlights how the pandemic threatens to deepen the divides in educational opportunities across the country if the impacts are not fully addressed. It discusses how learners who already had the fewest educational opportunities, and are often from marginalized and underserved communities, are disproportionately affected. The report shows how the coronavirus furthered disparities in access and opportunities facing learners of color, multilingual learners, learners with disabilities and LBGTQ+ learners- at the K-12 and postsecondary levels. There is also data showing an increased risk of harassment, discrimination and harm for Asian American and Pacific Islander learners. 
  • The Department released new guidance to support states as they invest American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds in communities and schools with the least access to educational opportunity.
    ED released its Maintenance of Equity guidance regarding a provision of the ARP. These requirements will ensure that districts and schools that serve a large number of students from low-income families will not experience disproportionate budget cuts, and that districts with the highest poverty levels do not receive any decrease in state per-pupil funding below the pre-pandemic level. These schools will also be protected from disproportionate cuts to staffing. This follows last month’s guidance on how states and districts can use ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to advance educational equity in pandemic response.  
  • President Biden’s budget proposes historic investments in Title I to address entrenched disparities in the education systems.
    The Administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget proposes $36.5 billion in formula grants for Title I schools, which is a $20 billion increase from the 2021 enacted level. The point of this investment is to enable states and communities to reinvest in historically under-resourced schools and reimagine their education systems so all students can access high-quality education and have the support they need to succeed. 

ED Releases COVID-19 Handbook Volume 3

ED announced the release of the COVID-19 Handbook Volume 3: Strategies for Safe Operation and Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Students, Faculty and Staff. This handbook provides additional strategies for institutions of higher education (IHEs) and communities to equitably reopen for in-person instruction. It also provides strategies on how postsecondary institutions can use funds from the ARP and previous relief bills to meet the needs of each learner, increase vaccination rates on campus, address inequities exacerbated by the pandemic, etc. 

This third volume addresses some priority areas for the postsecondary level, with an emphasis on response and recovery that will position IHEs  and students to be stronger than before the pandemic. This includes: 

  • Providing practices to aid IHEs in implementing CDC guidance, such as ways to offer and promote the coronavirus vaccine, and mitigation strategies to pursue for campuses where everyone is fully vaccinated, as well as campuses where not everyone is fully vaccinated. The Handbook also identifies common prevention strategies and provides examples of actions IHEs can take with Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) grant funding from the three relief bills to pursue these efforts;
  • Describing the ways in which IHEs have responded to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic—particularly challenges faced by underserved student populations—by supporting students’ transition to online learning and addressing basic needs such as broadband access, financial assistance, housing and childcare;
  • Noting ways in which IHEs have already been and can continue to be sources of support to their communities’ ongoing response and recovery from the pandemic— including in vaccination efforts; and
  • Providing a catalog of the resources and administrative flexibilities offered to IHEs as they address rapidly changing conditions and needs on the ground, including resources that support both learners and IHEs under the ARP.

This handbook includes feedback from IHEs and over 40 organizations representing stakeholders and institutions across 15 listening sessions. 

Senate Passes China Competitiveness Bill Without Short-Term Pell Provision

Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a sweeping proposal that would provide more than $200 billion to aid American manufacturing, technology, research and development, in an effort to quell China’s growing economic influence worldwide. Last week an amendment introduced by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) that would expand Pell Grants to short-term Career Technical Education (CTE) programs was accepted into a larger package of amendments that was closely negotiated between party leadership. The goal was to have them included into the larger manager’s amendment offered by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), by making a simple unanimous consent (UC) procedural request, then passing everything in the final bill. Unfortunately, the package that included the short-term Pell amendment was defeated when Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) objected to the UC request offered by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and the bill moved on to final passage without the amendment package.

Although the short-term Pell amendment was not ultimately included, there was another provision that was included in the bill related to dual enrollment. The provision would create a new grant program that would provide states with grants to expand Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pathways for high school students into postsecondary education through expanding advanced coursework like dual enrollment and early college. The program is a rewrite of the state grant component of the Fast Track to and Through College Act introduced by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Todd Young (R-IN). The original bill has been changed by focusing the funding on expanding STEM pathways and removing the provisions around expanding Pell eligibility for high school students taking dual enrollment. ACTE and Advance CTE endorsed this bill when it was originally introduced. 

The House is expected to take up the proposal in late June or July and it is likely to be split into smaller pieces rather than as one package. Past that, it is unclear whether House leadership will write their own version of the legislation or take the more traditional route of trying to negotiate the differences between the chambers through a conference committee. As for the short-term Pell amendment, there is no indication as of now if the House plans on trying to include it in their version of the legislation, or if the Senate tries to revive it in conference or pursue another vehicle. ACTE and Advance CTE support the expansion of Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality short term programs.

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: FY22 Budget Request and Updates from ED

May 28th, 2021

Today, the White House released its full budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22). Read below to learn more about what this means for Career Technical Education (CTE) funding, as well as information on a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) hearing and new resources from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

White House Shares Full Budget Proposal 

Today the White House released its $6 trillion budget proposal for FY22. This request calls for a $20 million increase (only approximately 1.5%) to the Perkins Basic State Grant, as well as a $108 million increase for National Programs- of which $100 million would fund competitive awards for middle and high school CTE innovation projects aimed at advancing equity and $8 million would fund technical assistance and grant evaluations. The request also includes a new $1 billion annually for 10 years to support middle and high school career pathways- this funding would happen through the passing of the American Jobs Plan.

Advance CTE in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released a statement on this proposal, which can be viewed here

Some of the additional funding requests for education and labor programs include: 

  • $20 billion increase to Title I; 
  • $400 increase to the maximum Pell Grant award; 
  • $100 million increase to expand registered apprenticeship opportunities while increasing access for historically underrepresented groups;
  • $100 billion over 10 years for broadband; 
  • Level funding for federal work study;
  • Level funding for Adult Education State Grants; and
  • Level funding for ESSA Title IV-A. 

Please find additional information on the budget at the below links: 

Advance CTE will continue to analyze the implications of the budget request, check back for more information!

House Subcommittee Holds WIOA Hearing
On Thursday the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing on “WIOA Reauthorization: Creating Employment Pathways for Dislocated Workers.” The following witnesses provided testimony and then answered questions from committee members: 

  • Joseph M. Barela, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment; 
  • PJ McGrew, Executive Director, Indiana Governor’s Workforce Cabinet;
  • Matt Sigelman, Chief Executive Officer, Burning Glass Technologies; and
  • Portia Wu, Managing Director, U.S. Public Policy, Microsoft Corporation, U.S. Government Affairs.

McGrew is also a member of Advance CTE in his capacity as State CTE Director for Indiana. In his testimony, McGrew spoke about how Indiana has expanded access to training, improved employer engagement and better connected the workforce and education systems. Some of the common themes throughout the hearing were the need to be responsive to workforce demands and the importance of addressing the increase, and inequities, in dislocated workers during the pandemic. 

Advance CTE’s recommendations for reauthorization of WIOA can be found here. A recording of the full hearing as well as member statements and witness testimonies can be found here

ED Releases New Information on Stimulus Funds

This week ED released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resource about how funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund- including the American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER Fund- and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund can be used to support students in per-K-12 education. This includes how funds can align the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). 

ED Releases Regulatory Agenda 

ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education announced this week that virtual public hearings will take place on June 21, June 23 and June 24 from 10:00am – 12:00pm EST and 2:00pm EST on each day to take in stakeholder feedback on proposed issues for rulemaking sessions. After these three hearings, ED will look for nominations of non-federal negotiators to serve on the negotiated rulemaking committees, set to convene in late summer 2021. Suggested topics from the Department include:

  • Ability to benefit;
  • Borrower defense to repayment;
  • Certification procedures for participation in federal financial aid programs;
  • Change of ownership and change in control of institutions of higher education;
  • Closed school discharges;
  • Discharges for borrowers with a total and permanent disability;
  • Discharges for false certification of student eligibility;
  • Financial responsibility for participating institutions of higher education, such as events that indicate heightened financial risk;
  • Gainful employment;
  • Income-contingent loan repayment plans;
  • Mandatory pre-dispute arbitration and prohibition of class action lawsuits provisions in institutions’ enrollment agreements;
  • Pell Grant eligibility for prison education programs;
  • Public service loan forgiveness; and
  • Standards of administrative capability.

Additional information on the upcoming hearings can be found here and details on the negotiated rulemaking process can be found hereMeredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Stakeholder Engagement: Using Lessons from Perkins V for the Stimulus Application

May 24th, 2021

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) released the state plan application for a portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund last month. In March, states were given access to two-thirds of the ARP ESSER funds, and the remaining third will be made available once state plans are approved by ED. The plan must include how states will:

  • Ensure the state and districts are demonstrating transparency in their planning; 
  • Identify and meet the needs of students most impacted by the pandemic; 
  • Choose effective evidence-based interventions; and 
  • Prioritize educational equity, inclusive stakeholder engagement and strong fiscal safeguards. 

A significant component of this application is the requirement for state-level stakeholder engagement. The following groups are named as ones that must be included and have an opportunity to provide input: students; families; Tribal Nations; civil rights and/or disability rights organizations; teachers, principals, school leaders, other educators, school staff and their unions, school and district administrators; superintendents; charter school leaders; and other stakeholders representing the interests of children with disabilities, English learners, children experiencing homelessness, children and youth in foster care, migratory students, children who are incarcerated and other underserved students.

State and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders have just recently undergone widespread stakeholder engagement during the development of each state plan under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The stakeholder engagement and ongoing consultation has led to a more holistic approach to implementing high-quality and equitable CTE in many states. Just like with Perkins V, the required stakeholder engagement at the onset should be viewed as a floor and not a ceiling and an opportunity, not a burden. Continued consultation during the use of these stimulus resources will ensure that there is statewide alignment on how to meet the unique needs of all learners. 

Stakeholder input also supports successful implementation of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education, particularly “Principle 2: Each Learner Feels Welcome in, Is Supported by and Has the Means to Succeed in the Career Preparation Ecosystem.” A career preparation ecosystem must be designed with an equity lens in order to meet the unique needs of each learner. Involvement from a large range of stakeholders is instrumental in ensuring that each learner’s voice is represented in program development.

In April 2021 Advance CTE published two resources on stakeholder engagement and Perkins V, one on “Engaging Representatives of Learners with Special Population Status” and the other on “Opportunities to Advance Statewide Collaboration and Engagement in CTE.” Though these resources are geared towards Perkins V, they provide lessons learned and state promising practices that can be applied in this situation. Not only will the applications provide information about how this funding will be used, but it will also inform ED’s technical assistance to states and districts and its approach to monitoring implementation of funds. Plans must be submitted by June 7, 2021 and additional information can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: WIOA Hearing and Updates from ED

May 14th, 2021

This week, the House held a hearing on the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Read below to learn more about what issues came up, as well as announcements from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on the release of higher education stimulus funds and more.

House Holds Hearing on WIOA Reauthorization and Youth Employment 

On Thursday the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing on “WIOA Reauthorization: Creating Opportunities for Youth Employment.” The following witnesses provided testimony and then answered questions from committee members: 

  • Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO, Philadelphia Youth Network;
  • Thomas Showalter, Senior Advisor, National Youth Employment Coalition;
  • Deb Lindner, Human Resources, Precor; and
  • Byron Garrett, President and CEO, National Job Corps Association. 

In her opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Frederica Wilson (D-FL) talked about the need to expand paid work-based learning opportunities, as well as the unintended consequences of the current split of funds between in-school youth and out-of-school youth. Representative Wilson shared how at times this allocation means that youth are not served until they are already disconnected. This is a sentiment that Advance CTE has heard from many, and a proposed new strategy for this funding formula is in the organization’s recommendations for WIOA reauthorization. Ranking Member Gregory Murphy (R-NC) called out the role Career Technical Education (CTE) plays in connecting youth to the workforce, as well as the importance of having employer voices at the table. 

Other common themes that came up throughout the hearing were the importance of professional development for those advising learners, the need for wraparound supports (such as childcare, and resources for food and housing insecurity), how to connect workforce and education partners, what successful outcomes look like and how they can be measured and how to serve communities that have been most impacted by the pandemic. 

Advance CTE’s recommendations for reauthorization of WIOA can be found here. A recording of the full hearing as well as member statements and witness testimonies can be found here

ED Announces 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars 

This week ED announced the 57th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars. The 161 high school seniors are recognized for accomplishments in academics, the arts and CTE. The 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars include two students from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 Scholars in the arts and 20 Scholars in CTE. 

The application and approval process is rigorous. A U.S. Presidential Scholar in CTE must be nominated by their Chief State School Officer (CSSO), who can nominate only five students. All candidates then complete an application that includes transcripts, a secondary school report, essays and self-assessments. Candidates are evaluated for academic achievement, character and leadership by a review committee of secondary and postsecondary education leaders. The review committee selects the semifinalists from this group. The remaining pool is assessed and the finalists are chosen by the Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of independent individuals appointed by the President from across the country and spanning a range of professional backgrounds.

ED Launches Outreach Campaign for Monthly Broadband Discounts

ED launched an outreach campaign for millions of students who are eligible to receive a monthly discount on broadband internet service through a temporary program with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Households with a child who has received approval for benefits under the under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or the School Breakfast Program (SBP), including a child that attends a school participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years are now eligible for the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program). Pell Grant recipients also qualify for the FCC’s EBB Program to help pursue postsecondary education if they received their grant during the 2020-2021 award year.

The campaign is to inform these families and individuals that they are eligible for a discount of up to $50 per month. Eligible households on qualifying Tribal lands can receive a discount of up to $75 per month. Each participating household may also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 for one connected device—a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer—where available from a participating broadband provider, as long as the household contributes between $10 and $50 towards the cost of the device.

For questions about the EBB Program please visit GetEmergencyBroadband.org, call 833-511-0311, or email EBBHelp@usac.org.

ED Releases New Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds 

Written by Alisha Hyslop, Director of Public Policy, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here

On May 11, ED released approximately $36 billion in funding for higher education that had been provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (signed into law in March). The funds will be distributed through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to public and nonprofit private institutions, and this allocation will be known as “HEERF III.” Notably, about $10 billion of the total is allocated to community colleges – making significant resources available that could be used to support CTE programs.

As required in the law, funds were allocated to each public and nonprofit private institution of higher education based on a formula heavily weighted toward institutions that serve large numbers of low-income students. The formula includes:

  • The institution’s total and full-time enrollment of Pell Grant recipients who were not enrolled exclusively in distance education prior to the pandemic (75% weight)
  • The institution’s total and full-time enrollment of students who are not Pell Grant recipients (23% weight) and were not enrolled exclusively in distance education prior to the pandemic
  • The number of students enrolled exclusively in distance education prior to the pandemic that received Pell Grants (2% weight).

A full list of allocations for each institution can be found here, and Inside Higher Education has developed a searchable database of funding amounts here. Funds will automatically be awarded to institutions that have already received a HEERF grant under a prior piece of legislation. New institutions that have not previously participated in the program must apply for funds through Grants.gov.

For the full blog with additional details click here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Update: Hearing on Education Budget and Updates from Departments of Education and Labor

May 7th, 2021

This week, the U.S. Secretary of Education testified to a House committee about the discretionary budget request. Read below to learn more about how Career Technical Education (CTE) came up during this hearing, as well as new resources, new grant opportunities, the budget hearing with the U.S. Secretary of Labor and information on the stimulus emergency connectivity funds. 

House Appropriations Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Education Budget

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified at a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) hearing on the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget request from the Biden Administration. This was in reference to the skinny FY22 discretionary budget request that the White House shared in April, but the hearing also made mention of the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. A full budget request is expected in the coming weeks. 

In his opening statement, Secretary Cardona named the importance of CTE, as well as plans to address the full education continuum from early childhood to postsecondary education. Regarding the postsecondary level, Secretary Cardona emphasized the need to make higher education affordable and accessible for each student. He also highlighted investments in Pell Grants, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), as well as programs such as TRIO and GEAR UP. 

Throughout the hearing, Secretary Cardona reiterated that the education system needs to evolve to meet the needs of learners, and not the other way around. Representative Josh Harder (D-CA) used his time to speak about the impact of CTE programs, the need to expand Pell Grant eligibility and funding streams for high-quality short term programs and the importance of early exposure CTE and workplace skills. In response, Secretary Cardona agreed with the value of CTE and the need to give learners options early on, as well as recognizing that learning also happens outside of a classroom. He also said that he is interested in getting more perspective on funding for short-term programs. 

Other common themes of the hearing were reopening schools, social and emotional learning, civics education, charter schools, teacher shortages and meeting the needs of communities who are traditionally underserved.

ED Launches Best Practices Clearinghouse for Reopening Schools and Campuses

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse (the Clearinghouse). This website highlights the innovative work being done across the country to safely reopen K-12 schools, postsecondary institutions and early childhood centers. It also provides examples of how educational institutions can safely reopen. Through the Clearinghouse, “ED aims to collect and disseminate innovative, evidence-based, or solutions-oriented approaches to school reopening and make this information available to elementary and secondary schools, early childhood centers, and postsecondary institutions across the country so they can learn from each other.” The Clearinghouse covers three topic areas: safe and healthy environments; supports for students and supports for the well-being and professional development of teachers, faculty and staff. 

DOL Announces New Funding for Women in Registered Apprenticeships

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new $3.5 million funding opportunity- the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program. Up to 10  grants will go to community-based organizations with the purpose of increasing and retaining the number of women in high quality Registered Apprenticeship Programs and nontraditional occupations in industries such as manufacturing, infrastructure, cybersecurity and healthcare. This grant is administered by the DOL Women’s Bureau and Employment and Training Administration. Applications can be submitted here through June 4, 2021. 

Additional information on the WANTO grant program can be found here and frequently asked questions here.  

House Appropriations Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Labor Budget

Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here.

On April 28, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh testified at a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education hearing focused on the Administration’s FY22 Budget Request for the Department of Labor. Workforce Development and job training programs were a large topic of discussion given the backdrop of the jobs crisis caused by the pandemic. In his opening statement Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) stated, “I think there’s a strong bipartisan commitment (for job training) in this subcommittee. We see it not only in this budget, but the education budget on everything from Job Corps to, again, the apprenticeship program to career tech kinds of programs where we managed to work together.”

Secretary Walsh went into the need for Congress to work with the Administration on passing the American Jobs Plan. He then went into detail on the proposed benefits of the plan, including funding for sector-based training programs focused on growing, high-demand sectors, such as clean energy, manufacturing and caregiving, and helping workers of all kinds to find good-quality jobs in an ever-changing economy. During the questioning part of the hearing, Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) discussed the Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grant Program, and asked Secretary Walsh “How will the Department of Labor leverage this program, bring it to scale to address the economic effects of the pandemic to support community colleges, dislocated workers, and their families?” He replied, “That question is key to the success in the rebound of America right now. I think we have to work closely with community colleges.” 

FCC Announces Information on Stimulus Emergency Connectivity Fund Program

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced a draft Report and Order that outlines the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). ARP included this funding to be used through the E-rate program through September 2030 for schools and libraries to purchase internet connectivity and technological devices. An in depth fact sheet and the draft Report and Order can be found here and a Public Notice can be found here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

 

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