Legislative Update: House Advances WIOA Reauthorization 

May 20th, 2022

This week the House passed legislation that would make updates to federal workforce development legislation, while elsewhere lawmakers examined the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education announced the latest class of Presidential Scholars, while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made additional funding announcements and DOL convened a meeting on apprenticeship programs. 

House Advances WIOA Reauthorization Proposal

On Tuesday, May 17, lawmakers in the House passed H.R. 7309– legislation that would reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This legislation was passed largely along party lines by a margin of 220-196. If enacted, this legislation would make important reforms to the sharing of One-stop Center infrastructure costs amongst required partner programs, including postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) programs receiving funding from the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins V). The proposed legislation would also codify the Workforce Data Quality Initiative, authorizes additional funding for this effort to modernize state workforce data systems, and would make related improvements to data system infrastructure. The proposal strongly emphasizes equitable access and opportunity for workers and learners of all ages in a variety of ways among many other encouraging aspects of the legislation. 

Notably, the legislation was amended during floor consideration to encourage CTE representation on local workforce development boards– a key priority for Advance CTE. Yet, despite these improvements to current WIOA law, Advance CTE looks forward to further refining this proposal as part of the wider legislative process as shared previously. This includes addressing issues with a more narrow definition for “eligible youth” in addition to developing more reciprocal connections between state CTE and workforce development systems. With House passage complete, the legislation now moves to the Senate where its future remains unclear. As this process  moves forward, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for thoughtful and meaningful coordination and alignment between CTE and the publicly funded workforce development system. 

House Examines DOL FY23 Budget 

Earlier this week, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing examining the Biden Administration’s FY23 budget request for DOL. U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh testified before lawmakers on the subcommittee, highlighting many aspects of this request including its support for apprenticeship programs and his Department’s role in promoting the Administration’s Good Jobs Initiative. An archived webcast of the hearing can be found here

DOL Convenes Apprenticeship Advisory Committee 

On Monday, May 16, DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship (OA) hosted a quarterly meeting for its Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA). Authorized by the National Apprenticeship Act, the ACA is intended to help the Department expand, modernize, and diversify registered apprenticeship programs, including by expanding these programs into nontraditional sectors of the economy and ensuring equitable access for all workers. The meeting focused on ways stakeholders can achieve these objectives, which included a set of recommendations for the agency to consider. Among these recommendations, the committee encouraged officials to consider further clarifying aspects of high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs in future guidance. Materials for the meeting, including related presentations, can be found here

FCC Announces New Funding Commitments

On Tuesday, May 17, the FCC announced that it had committed $50 million in additional awards as part of a 15th wave of Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program support. Created as part of the American Rescue Plan, the ECF Program allows eligible schools and libraries to apply for financial support to purchase connected devices including laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity to serve unmet needs of students, school staff, and library patrons at home. This round of funding will support 46 schools, 7 libraries, and 2 consortia across the country, including for students in American Samoa, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FCC’s third filing window for applications closed last week with additional award announcements expected in the near future.

Biden Administration Announces Presidential Scholars

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars announced the 58th cohort of U.S. Presidential Scholars—an initiative that annually recognizes 161 high school seniors for academic, career technical, and artistic achievements. The selection process takes into consideration a number of criteria including learners’ transcripts and test scores. Each year, this initiative highlights the achievements of 20 CTE scholars for their outstanding achievements. A full list of scholars can be found here

June Meeting Series 

On June 22nd, Advance CTE will be joined by partners from the Association for Career and Technical Education and Association of Community College Trustees to provide a federal policy update as part of Advance CTE’s Equip, Empower, Elevate: June Meeting Series. The series consists of three, three-hour events on June 8, 15, and 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET.  Those interested in attending one or more sessions can register here by May 25, 2022. 

Be Sure to Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

The House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are currently working to encourage Senators and Representatives to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: House to Consider Workforce Legislation Next Week 

May 13th, 2022

This week lawmakers in the House set the stage to consider the reauthorization of federal workforce development legislation, while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced plans to issue new rules regarding disability policy and the Biden Administration unveiled new connectivity efforts. 

House to Consider WIOA Next Week 

Next Monday, May 16, the House Rules Committee will meet to develop a rule for floor consideration of H.R. 7309– legislation that, if enacted, would reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). As shared previously, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) sent a letter to lawmakers outlining remaining concerns with the proposal while also supporting many aspects of the legislation, particularly the proposed reforms contained in the bill related to the sharing of One-Stop Center infrastructure costs amongst partner programs like postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE). Advance CTE expects a floor vote sometime next week, where lawmakers in the House will consider a number of amendments to the underlying legislative proposal. A list of potential amendments to be considered can be found here

Education Department Announces Plans to Amend Section 504

Late last week, May 6, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that it intends to promulgate new regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Currently, Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability for programs and initiatives funded with federal dollars. These regulations apply to pre-K-12 and postsecondary institutions that receive federal grants as part of their operations. ED plans to gather public input from a wide variety of stakeholders ahead of issuing new proposed rules aimed at further protecting the rights of students with disabilities. 

Biden Administration Promotes Affordable Connectivity Efforts

On Monday, May 9, the Biden Administration held a series of events intended to promote federal efforts to make high-speed internet affordable for more Americans. The bipartisan infrastructure law passed by Congress last year, known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), created the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)—an initiative that provides subsidies to eligible households to pay for broadband internet services. This was a key legislative priority for Advance CTE during last year’s negotiations as a way to ensure more learners have access to vitally important broadband connections. Twenty internet service providers signed on to an agreement to cap household costs for these connections at no more than $30 per month.

The Administration has also launched GetInternet.gov—a website to assist individuals in accessing this benefit as part of these efforts. In addition to these announcements, Jessica Rosenworcel, Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has recently proposed to allow federal E-rate funding to be used to install Wi-Fi on school buses. If enacted, this policy change would provide a new source of funding for additional student-focused connectivity efforts such as this. 

Guest Blog Post: Virginia State CTE Director Reflects on Secretary Cardona Teacher Appreciation Week Visit 

This week, Virginia State CTE Director David Eshelman penned a guest post on Advance CTE’s Learning that Works blog recapping U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Senator Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) visit to the RTR teacher residency program at Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia. This stop  launched a series of visits and events made by Sec. Cardona to celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week as we shared last week.

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: Secretary Cardona Testifies and Makes State CTE Visit

May 6th, 2022

Over the last two weeks U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before House appropriators while also leading several efforts to celebrate the importance of teachers and promote much-needed reforms to the Pell Grant program. Elsewhere, lawmakers introduced legislation to attract and retain a robust teacher workforce while the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee highlighted the importance of workforce development and apprenticeship programs. 

Secretary Cardona Testifies on FY23 Budget

On Thursday, April 28, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies regarding the Biden Administration’s 2023 federal fiscal year (FY23) funding requests for programs overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). This hearing is part of wider, ongoing efforts in Congress to consider aspects of President Biden’s FY23 budget request released a few weeks ago. During his formal testimony, Secretary Cardona focused on the need to close opportunity and achievement gaps by investing more in educational programs, addressing student mental health needs, growing the educator workforce, and building creative on-ramps to more affordable college and career pathways. During the hearing, lawmakers discussed a wide range of issues, including STEM education and lingering stigmas attached to “skilled trades” instruction. An archived webcast of the hearing, including Secretary Cardona’s testimony, can be found here

Although the Carl D. Perkins Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program was not mentioned explicitly during this hearing, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA) successfully led a Dear Colleague letter calling for robust funding for this program ahead of Cardona’s appearance. Nearly a third of Representatives in the House, 127, signed on in support of this letter– a reflection of the strong support the program has in Congress. 

Lawmakers Introduce RAISE Act 

Coinciding with national Teacher Appreciation Week, Sen. Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Schiff (D-CA) introduced the Respect, Advancement, and Increasing Support for Educators (RAISE) Act– legislation that, if enacted, would provide a sliding scale of refundable annual tax credits specifically for teachers. Tax credit amounts would be determined by school poverty levels where teachers work. Importantly, CTE instructors who meet state certification requirements would be eligible for up to $15,000 in tax credits. Advance CTE is proud to endorse this legislation and urges its swift enactment to help address persistent teacher shortages across the country. More information on the proposal can be found here

Cardona Promotes Pell Grant Modernization 

Secretary Cardona attended an event celebrating Second Chance Month last week, where ED announced it had invited 73 postsecondary institutions to participate in the third round of the Second Chance Pell Experiment– an effort that expands access to Pell grants for incarcerated individuals. During this event Secretary Cardona also expressed support for the expansion of the Pell Grant program for high-quality short-term CTE programs. As a reminder, lawmakers in Congress are debating whether to include a short-term Pell Grant program provision as part of wider conference negotiations over economic competitiveness legislation. Recently the Senate held a series of procedural votes to formally begin this negotiation process. Advance CTE has continued to advocate in favor of this change which is modeled after legislation long sponsored by Sens. Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH). 

ED Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week 

This week commemorates Teacher Appreciation Week—a time to honor the contribution of teachers nationwide. As part of these efforts,. Secretary Miguel Cardona kicked off the week with a visit to Richmond, Virginia to tour high school and postsecondary CTE programs with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). The event also included a visit to Richmond’s Teacher Residency Program which aims to attract and retain teachers in high-needs subject areas. Later in the week, Cardona hosted a roundtable further celebrating teachers and the invaluable contributions that they make each day. At this event, the Secretary discussed a public service loan forgiveness waiver announced last fall aimed at discharging student debt carried by eligible teachers. 

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Odds & Ends 

  • On Monday, May 2, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) visited several programs in Newport News, Virginia to elevate the importance of workforce development and apprenticeship programs. 
  • Last week, USED hosted a summit examining the impact the American Rescue Plan (ARP) has had on student learning. As part of this convening, USED announced that federal guidance for the ARP’s state and local fiscal recovery program had been updated to more explicitly allow funding to support educational activities, including school construction. 
  • On Thursday, April 28, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the third application window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). The ECF program provides financial support for eligible schools and libraries to purchase connected devices to address unmet needs of students, staff, and patrons. 

 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: Congress Set to Return Next Week

April 22nd, 2022

This week lawmakers in the House have continued to circulate a Dear Colleague letter in support of funding for the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins V) and the high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs it supports. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) signed an agreement with the Austrian government related to apprenticeships while the Congressional CTE Caucuses continue to grow. 

Congress Set to Return Next Week

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers in Congress have been in respective states and districts for their annual springtime recess. Both the House and Senate are scheduled to return next week to resume work on a host of issues. Chief among these agenda items is continued work on the federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget and appropriations process. These efforts formally began with the release of President Biden’s FY23 budget request a few weeks ago. Lawmakers are in the process of analyzing and considering aspects of this request, which will include opportunities for the heads of federal agencies—including U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona—to testify before relevant Congressional committees regarding the contours of the budget request.

Next week, Secretary Cardona is scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies about the Biden Administration’s FY23 funding requests for programs overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, like Perkins V). As a reminder, CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter in the House calling for robust funding for Perkins V as part of this process. Advance CTE encourages its members to contact your members of Congress soon and ask them to sign-on to this important letter to ensure a strong funding result as part of the wider federal budget and appropriations process this year. To do so, click here

Federal Agencies & Austria Sign Apprenticeship MOU 

Late last week, the heads of the U.S. Departments of Labor (USDOL), Education (ED), and Commerce, along with the Austrian Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Dr. Margarete Schramböck announced that their respective agencies had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to expand Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) in the United States among Austrian companies. In 2020, Austria invested $17.8 billion in the U.S., primarily in the IT, software, and industrial equipment sectors. Federal agencies have signed similar MOUs in recent years with Germany and Switzerland, each aiming to increase awareness about RAPs and related career pathway opportunities. Read the signed MOU here

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: Equity Plans Unveiled by Federal Agencies as FY23 Efforts Get Underway

April 15th, 2022

This week House Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus co-chairs began circulating a Dear Colleague letter aimed at securing robust funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). In addition, federal agencies unveiled equity action plans outlining planned efforts to advance equity throughout the federal government. 

FY23 Perkins V Funding Letter Being Circulated for Sign-on 

It has been quiet on Capitol Hill this week, with lawmakers in both chambers currently in states and districts for the annual springtime Congressional recess. Both the House and the Senate are expected to return later this month during the week of April 25. With the release of President Biden’s federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request to Congress earlier this month, it is widely anticipated that lawmakers will focus attention on the FY23 budget and appropriations cycle when they return. 

Ahead of these efforts, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) are leading a “Dear Colleague” letter to be sent to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittees. The letter requests robust funding for Perkins V in the House’s forthcoming FY23 appropriations bill. This letter is an important way for members to gauge support for programs like the Perkins basic state grant program as they make critical funding decisions for how to allocate finite federal resources as part of this process. 

While the President’s FY23 request was disappointing, Advance CTE and its partners are working with Congress to ensure Perkins V is provided the funding necessary to ensure access to all learners have access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. We are therefore encouraging you to get in touch with your members of Congress and ask them to sign-on to this important Dear Colleague letter. To do so, click here

Biden Administration Unveils Equity Agendas

On Thursday, April 14, federal departments and agencies collectively released “Equity Action Plans”. These plans are part of President Biden’s January 20, 2021 executive order aimed at advancing equity and support for underserved communities throughout the federal government. As part of these efforts, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) also unveiled its specific equity action plan which broadly aims to undertake work in five main areas:

  • Prioritizing access to and completion of an education beyond high school;
  • Ensuring equitable impact of American Rescue Plan’s $130 billion in funding for K-12 students;
  • Investing in resources to help advance civil rights;
  • Advancing equity in contracting and procurement; and
  • Advancing equity in grant process strategies. 

The full plan can be found here

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: House Advances WIOA Proposal

April 8th, 2022

This week the House Education and Labor Committee marked up legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) while the Senate considers additional pandemic aid legislation with implications for postsecondary institutions. In addition, Advance CTE continues to encourage its members and partners to support legislation to improve learner access to Pell Grants for high-quality, short-term postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Finally, be sure to encourage your Senators and Representatives to join the House and Senate CTE Caucuses if they have not already done so! 

House Democrats Release WIOA Reauthorization Proposal 

Since last spring, Congressional lawmakers have been considering and debating making updates to WIOA– federal legislation that funds the nation’s workforce development system. Last week, Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee released a comprehensive proposal to reauthorize this law dubbed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 (H.R. 7309). On Tuesday, April 5, the committee held a hearing to markup this legislation, considering and debating amendments to this proposal. An updated version of the legislation, known as an amendment in the nature of a substitute (ANS), was considered and ultimately adopted by the committee along party lines. This ANS made several small changes to the underlying legislation first released last week, including by adding digital literacy efforts as an allowable usage of WIOA youth funding. 

Broadly, Democrats were supportive of H.R. 7309 and highlighted aspects of the proposal that they either directly sponsored or generally supported. Republicans were broadly unsupportive of the proposed legislation, instead favoring a separate ANS proposal put forward by Rep. Miller-Meeks (R-IA). Republicans on the committee proposed several amendments to H.R. 7309, including this alternative proposal, which were all defeated along party lines. Following several hours of debate, the Committee passed H.R. 7309 by a margin of 29-21. This vote advances the legislation out of committee for further consideration by the full House chamber with a floor vote tentatively expected later this spring. 

Ahead of the markup, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) sent a letter to the committee, applauding certain aspects of the legislation, particularly the bill’s approach to the sharing of one-stop center infrastructure costs. The letter went on to note that work lies ahead to further refine and improve on this proposal. Despite the encouraging progress on WIOA taking place in the House, it remains unclear whether comparable activity will commence in the Senate. As these efforts continue to unfold, Advance CTE and its partners will continue to work with lawmakers to make updates to this important law aligned with the organization’s newly updated recommendations for this legislation. 

Lawmakers Consider Higher Education Recission

For the last few months, Congress and the Biden Administration have been grappling with how to pass additional legislation to fund pandemic response activities, such as the purchasing of testing kits, vaccines and additional therapeutics. Broadly, Republicans and Democrats have continued to disagree on how to pay for this supplemental funding package. Recently, a group of Senators has coalesced around a $10 billion package for this purpose. However, as part of this emerging agreement, Republicans have insisted that this be paid for using unspent pandemic aid dollars. Nearly $500 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief funds (HEERF) would likely be used to defray some of the total $10 billion cost of the package. A summary of the agreement can be found here. A timeline for the advancement and passage of this legislation remains unclear.  

Lend Your Support to Pell Grant Modernization 

Advance CTE and its partners have continued to advocate for the enactment of the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act – legislation that would make long-overdue improvements to the federal Pell Grant program by expanding eligibility for high-quality shorter-term postsecondary CTE programs. As lawmakers continue to negotiate and craft forthcoming legislation to improve the competitiveness of the American economy, this reform would drastically enhance the nation’s ability to provide pathways for workers and learners to earn valuable postsecondary credentials needed in today’s economy. 

To help ensure lawmakers understand the importance of this legislation and the role it has in ensuring American global economic competitiveness, Advance CTE encourages state and local CTE affiliates, especially nonprofit CTE institutions, to sign-on in support of this letter ahead of anticipated legislative action later this year. 

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: FY23 Budget Released as House Moves Forward With WIOA

April 1st, 2022

This week the Biden Administration formally published its annual Congressional budget request for federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23). Meanwhile, lawmakers in the House introduced legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) while U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urged stakeholders to use pandemic aid funding to address nationwide teacher shortages and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a new study on Career Technical Education (CTE). In addition, Advance CTE continues to encourage its members and partners to support legislation to improve learner access to Pell Grants for high-quality, short-term postsecondary CTE programs. Finally, be sure to encourage your Senators and Representatives to join the House and Senate CTE Caucuses if they have not already done so! 

President Biden Releases Disappointing FY23 Budget Request 

On Monday, March 28, President Biden published his Administration’s FY23 budget request to Congress. The $5.8 trillion budget proposal would provide a nearly 21 percent increased investment for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and an 18 percent increase for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). While these topline figures are encouraging, this budget was developed and published before Congress enacted final full-year funding for the previous federal fiscal year (FY22). Because of this timing ED has requested an effective $25 million decrease in investment for the Carl D. Perkins Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program. Since the publication of this budget request, ED has framed this (and other proposed reductions in funding for education and workforce programs) as “artificial cuts,” publicly maintaining that they support enacted FY22 funding levels in instances where the budget request fell short of FY22 funding totals.

Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released a statement expressing significant disappointment in this budget request. The statement also calls into question the budget request’s proposed creation of a new $200 million competitive grant program as part of a new “Career-connected High Schools” initiative. 

Despite these disappointing elements in the President’s proposed budget, Advance CTE looks forward to working with partners in Congress to ensure robust funding levels for Perkins V formula grants. The full ED budget summary can be found here and more detailed justifications for individual requests can be found here. DOL’s summary can be found here, along with more detailed information here

House Democrats Release WIOA Reauthorization Proposal 

For the last year, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been quietly considering making updates to WIOA– the nation’s primary workforce development law. Yesterday, March 31, Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee released a comprehensive proposal to reauthorize this law. While Advance CTE is still analyzing this legislation, the organization is encouraged to see a number of its priorities reflected in this draft. 

Most particularly, the proposal would make significant improvements to the sharing of one-stop center infrastructure costs and would also provide greater flexibilities, along with improved coordination, with regards to youth workforce funding. In addition, the proposal would make notable improvements to the law’s underlying data infrastructure, softening an existing prohibition on the creation of a national database to more effectively understand and evaluate the impact WIOA-funded programs and services have on individuals and communities. 

As mentioned, Advance CTE is still in the process of analyzing all aspects of this draft proposal and looks forward to working with the committee to further improve and refine this legislation. A committee markup of the legislation is expected to be scheduled soon. 

Secretary Cardona Encourages States to Use ARP Funding to Address Teacher Shortages

On Monday, March 28, the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona called on education stakeholders to make use of funding provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to address persistent and widespread teacher shortages. With the use of  ARP funds, Secretary Cardona urged states, postsecondary leaders, districts and schools to consider establishing evidence-based teacher residency programs, creating registered apprenticeship programs for the teaching profession, and increasing teacher compensation along with a slew of other proposals. The full announcement can be found here

GAO Publishes Study on CTE 

On Wednesday, March 30, the GAO published a new study examining CTE programs, strategies, and related challenges. The publication interviewed stakeholders from Delaware, Georgia, Ohio and Washington, including representatives from national organizations. The study looked at how stakeholders are using federal CTE funding, the challenges they currently face, and how these efforts are aligned with other education and workforce development efforts. Among several findings, researchers found that learners have experienced significant challenges in accessing CTE programs due to the lack of federal financial aid eligibility for nondegree postsecondary programs. 

To more effectively address this longstanding inequity, Advance CTE and its partners have continued to advocate for the enactment of the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act – legislation that would make long-overdue improvements to the federal Pell Grant program by expanding eligibility for high-quality shorter-term postsecondary CTE programs. As lawmakers continue to negotiate and craft forthcoming legislation to increase the competitiveness of the American economy, this reform would significantly enhance the nation’s ability to provide pathways for workers and learners to earn valuable postsecondary credentials needed in today’s economy. 

To help ensure lawmakers understand the importance of this legislation and the role it has in ensuring that postsecondary education is truly working for everyone, Advance CTE encourages state and local CTE affiliates, including individual nonprofit CTE institutions serving postsecondary learners, to sign-on in support of this letter ahead of anticipated legislative action later this year. Please share and add your support by April 13! 

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: FY22 Omnibus Signed Into Law

March 18th, 2022

This week President Biden signed a full-year spending package for the current fiscal year, providing several increased investments of note to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. In addition, Advance CTE continues to encourage its members and partners to support legislation to improve learner access to Pell Grants for high-quality, short-term postsecondary CTE programs. Finally, be sure to encourage your Senators and Representatives to join the House and Senate CTE Caucuses if they have not already done so! 

President Biden Signs FY22 Omnibus Into Law

As we shared last week, Congress successfully passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package which provides full-year funding for the remaining six months of the current 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22). This spending package provides support for federal education and workforce development programs, including the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). On Tuesday, March 15, President Biden formally signed the legislation into law. The legislation provides an additional $45 million for Perkins V’s basic state formula grant program (an increase of nearly 3.5 percent). The legislation makes a host of other notable investments to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, including increased investments in apprenticeship expansion efforts, career education programs at community colleges, and other important funding beneficial to expanding CTE opportunities to more of the nation’s learners. 

With the FY22 funding process now complete, the FY23 budget and appropriation process can now formally begin. This process typically begins with the release of the President’s budget request to Congress, which Advance CTE expects to be released in the coming weeks. Once the Biden administration’s budget request is published and sent to Congress, lawmakers will formally begin efforts to craft the necessary spending bills (12 in total)  that compose the federal budget. Ahead of these efforts, the Senate confirmed Shalanda Young to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) this week by a margin of 61-36. This agency is tasked with leading the formulation of the Biden Administration’s FY23 budget request and will be a key stakeholder in future FY23 federal appropriations negotiations this year. As these efforts and more continue to take shape, Advance CTE is working to ensure robust investments in CTE. 

In the meantime, be sure to check out Advance CTE’s updated Perkins funding resource reflecting the new investments made by Congress in FY22. 

Sign-on to Support Pell Grants for High-Quality CTE Programs

Advance CTE and its partners have continued to advocate for the enactment of the JOBS Act– legislation that would make long-overdue improvements to the federal Pell Grant program by expanding eligibility for high-quality shorter-term postsecondary CTE programs. As lawmakers continue to negotiate and craft forthcoming legislation to increase the competitiveness of the American economy, this reform would significantly enhance the nation’s ability to provide pathways for workers and learners to earn valuable postsecondary credentials needed in today’s economy. 

To help ensure lawmakers understand the importance of this legislation and the role it has in ensuring that postsecondary education is truly working for everyone, Advance CTE encourages state and local CTE affiliates, including individual nonprofit CTE institutions serving postsecondary learners, to sign-on in support of this letter ahead of anticipated legislative action later this year. Please share and add your support by the end of this month! 

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses if they have not done so already. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

Legislative Update: Full-Year Spending Package for FY22 with CTE Implications

March 11th, 2022

This week Congress passed a long-awaited full-year spending package for the 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22). The legislation provides encouraging increases for programs of interest to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. In addition, Advance CTE encourages its members and partners to sign-on in support of the  Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, legislation that would make much-needed reforms to the federal Pell grant program. Finally, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has made a number of new announcements, including the availability of new discretionary grant funding. 

House Passes FY22 Omnibus Spending Legislation With CTE Funding Increase

After relying on a series of short-term funding extensions (known as Continuing Resolutions or CRs) for the first six months of FY22, Congress is finally on the precipice of enacting a full-year, comprehensive spending legislation. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, March 9, lawmakers in the House unveiled a $1.5 trillion FY22 omnibus spending bill which combines all 12 regular appropriations bills covering the entirety of the federal government and related programs for the current federal fiscal year into a single legislative package. Initially, this package also contained additional supplemental aid to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and to meet unaddressed needs from the pandemic.

Late Wednesday night lawmakers in the House passed this omnibus package, via separate votes, on a bipartisan basis—after stripping out additional pandemic aid due to lack of support but leaving the Ukrainian aid in place—sending the package to the Senate for further consideration. Late last night the Senate took up and passed the omnibus by a margin of 68-31. With current federal funding set to expire late today (March 11), Advance CTE expects President Biden to sign the legislation into law imminently, so as to avoid a lapse in federal appropriations. 

Overall, the legislation provides an additional $2.3 billion for the U.S. Department of Education (ED)– a 3.2 percent increase over 2021 federal fiscal year (FY21) levels. The FY22 omnibus also contains a number of new investments of note to the CTE community. These include $45 million in additional funding for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program. This new level of investment brings total Perkins V state grant funding to $1.38 billion (a 3.4% increase compared to FY21 levels). In addition, the omnibus provides $60 million in additional funding (a 5 percent increase) for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants contained in Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The bill also increases the maximum award amount for Pell Grants by $400, bringing this new total to $6,895 per grant.

The omnibus also provides roughly $500 million in additional funding for the DOL, representing an increase of 3.6 percent for the agency. Significantly, the legislation provides $50 million in additional funding to expand registered apprenticeship programs (a 27 percent increase), bringing total funding for this purpose to $235 million for FY22. Overall, the legislation increases funding for programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by $249 million, bringing the total for these activities to $5.66 billion (a roughly 4.6 percent increase compared to FY21). Finally, $50 million of the overall funding being provided to WIOA is dedicated specifically to expanding career training and education programs offered at community colleges, including consortia of other eligible postsecondary institutions. 

Advance CTE applauds these and other critically important investments made through this legislation and will continue to provide the CTE community with additional updates regarding this legislation’s impact on states, districts, schools, and institutions in the future. In the meantime, Advance CTE’s federal policy agenda can be found here

Lend Your Support to Pell Grant Modernization 

Advance CTE and its partners have continued to advocate for the enactment of the JOBS Act – legislation that would make long-overdue improvements to the federal Pell Grant program by expanding eligibility for high-quality shorter-term postsecondary CTE programs. As lawmakers continue to negotiate and craft forthcoming legislation to improve the competitiveness of the American economy, this reform would drastically enhance the nation’s ability to provide pathways for workers and learners to earn valuable postsecondary credentials needed in today’s economy. 

To help ensure lawmakers understand the importance of this legislation and the role it has in ensuring American global economic competitiveness, Advance CTE encourages state and local CTE affiliates, especially nonprofit CTE institutions, to sign-on in support of this letter ahead of anticipated legislative action later this year. 

DOL and DOT Sign MOU 

On Monday, March 7, the DOL and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) formalizing their commitment to collaborate in two main areas: 

  • Job Quality, Equitable Job Creation, and Labor Standards: The Departments are partnering to embed provisions in DOT grants that lead to high job quality, the free choice to unionize, and greater diversity in the infrastructure sector.
  • Equitable and Effective Workforce Development: The Departments are jointly supporting the creation and expansion of high-quality and equitable workforce development programs that connect workers and communities to quality infrastructure and transportation jobs.

This MOU is intended to support the ongoing implementation of the bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed last year. A press release on the announcement can be found here

DOL Grant Opportunities

Over the past few weeks, DOL has published the following discretionary grant opportunities which may be of interest to the CTE community:

  • $45 million for Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants which are intended for public and state institutions of higher education and community colleges – individually or as a group– to improve their ability to address equity gaps and meet the skills development needs of employers and workers. The department will award grants of up to $1.6 million for single institutions and up to $5 million for consortiums. 
  • $113 million for the department’s Apprenticeship Building America program, including up to $50 million dedicated specifically for equity partnerships and pre-apprenticeship activities intended to boost enrollment in registered apprenticeship programs. Eligible applicants include nonprofits, labor organizations, public and state institutions of higher education, and county governments with planned awards ranging from $1 to $8 million.
  • $55 million for the department’s Pathway Home 3 grant program, which is intended to reduce barriers to employment by providing training and employment services to incarcerated individuals before their release from state correctional facilities, or county or local jails. The agency expects to award up to 15 projects ranging from $1 to $4 million each to teach returning citizens foundational skills such as job readiness and job search strategies, and to provide apprenticeships and occupational training leading to industry-recognized credentials. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

Legislative Update: President Biden’s State of the Union Address and a New CTE Fact Sheet

March 4th, 2022

This week lawmakers have continued to negotiate a forthcoming full-year spending bill for the 2022 federal Fiscal Year (FY22), while President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union address to Congress. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a new factsheet on how to use pandemic aid funding to support Career Technical Education (CTE), while lawmakers in the House examined the important role Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) have in providing economic opportunity to learners. 

Lawmakers Continue to Negotiate FY22 Spending Bill

Last October, Congress was unable to come to agreement on full-year funding for FY22. As a result, federal lawmakers have relied on a series of short-term funding measures—known as continuing resolutions (CR)—to continue government operations past the formal start of FY22 on October 1, 2021. These CRs simply extend last fiscal year’s funding levels for federal programs like the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) for a predetermined period of time. The most recent of these CRs is set to expire March 11. 

Until recently, Congressional leaders were optimistic that they would find agreement on full-year funding for the remaining six months of FY22. However, lawmakers are currently disagreeing on how best to provide emergency aid to address the ongoing Ukrainian crisis as well as on whether to provide additional funding to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, March 2, the White House formally requested both of these supplemental appropriations requests to House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA). 

Until these disagreements are reconciled, lawmakers are at an impasse, at least temporarily, on full-year FY22 funding. Should agreement not be reached in the coming days, Congress will likely pass an additional CR to provide more time for these negotiations to continue. As these efforts unfold, Advance CTE will continue to champion robust investments in CTE and Perkins V. 

President Biden Delivers State of the Union

President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, March 1. While a significant portion of the speech was devoted to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the President emphasized the importance of education and investments in workforce development. During his remarks, the President emphasized his administration’s plans to “. . . cut costs and keep the economy going strong by giving workers a fair shot, [by providing] more training and apprenticeships, [hiring] them based on their skills not degrees.” 

The address also emphasized the important role the American Rescue Plan (ARP) continues to play in helping states, schools, and postsecondary institutions recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, he called for greater investments in community colleges, encouraging lawmakers to, in part, “Invest in America. Educate Americans. Grow the workforce. Build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.” A transcript of the speech can be found here

House Holds Hearing on MSIs’ Role in Ensuring Economic Mobility

On Wednesday, March 2, the House Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing titled “ Investing in Economic Mobility: The Important Role of Hispanic Serving Institutions and Other Minority Serving Institutions.” The hearing focused on how these institutions are effectively serving learners and providing ladders of opportunity for career and economic advancement. In particular, lawmakers focused on strategies these institutions are employing to provide learners with labor market experiences, provide high-quality credentialing opportunities, and partner with employers to make postsecondary-to-career transitions more seamless. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here

ED Releases New CTE Fact Sheet

Late last Friday, February 25, ED released a new fact sheet highlighting how states and local school districts can make use of funding from the ARP’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding to support high-quality CTE programs. In particular, the factsheet emphasized CTE as a powerful way to reengage students to cultivate high-demand skills needed for jobs of the future. The resource highlighted several states’ efforts to use these resources to develop, expand, or otherwise implement CTE activities as part of their recovery efforts. The fact sheet can be accessed here. Advance CTE also has a similar resource for this purpose which can be accessed here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

 

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