Posts Tagged ‘Biden Administration’

FY24 Funding Progress Slows, U.S. Department of Education Announces Career-Connected Grants | Legislative Update

Friday, January 26th, 2024

This week lawmakers struggled to make progress on federal appropriations for the current fiscal year while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced new career-connected high school grants. Elsewhere, federal agencies formally unveiled a significant new regulatory proposal related to apprenticeships. 

Congress Extends FY24 Funding for Another Month

As shared last week, Congress passed an additional short-term extension of federal funding, known as a continuing resolution, which extends FY23 funding levels for federal programs through March 1 and March 8 later this year. The “laddered” CR is intended to provide lawmakers more time to negotiate full-year appropriations for federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) which began last October. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), which is included in the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill, is set to expire on the latter of these two dates in March. 

While this development is an encouraging step in the wider FY24 process, appropriations leaders must still establish individual allocations for each of the dozen bills that compose the federal budget. Known as 302(b) allocations, lawmakers have continued to struggle this week to successfully negotiate these funding levels including for the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill. Until 302(b)s are determined, lawmakers cannot move forward with negotiations on program-level funding, including for Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other important investments in education and workforce development. It remains unclear how lawmakers will come to a resolution on this important issue with current reports indicating that little progress has been made this week. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust funding for the foundational federal investment made by Perkins V. 

U.S. Department of Education Announces Career-Connected High School Grants

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited the Advanced Technical Center—an area career technical school located in Washington, DC and recently featured in the Washington Post for its impact on chronic student absenteeism in DC. During the visit, Secretary Cardona announced a slate of new grants as part of his agency’s career-connected high school initiative

Advance CTE has previously highlighted that the activities authorized under this new discretionary grant program can already be funded using resources from Perkins V’s basic state grant program. In announcing 19 grant awards in total as part of this effort, which will benefit 17 states, the agency indicated that it received 160 applications for this funding totaling nearly $850 million. These applications for funding demonstrate significant unfilled demand for CTE programming which can only be addressed through a strengthened systemic investment via Perkins V’s state grant program. “The Biden-Harris Administration is going to keep on fighting to provide every student in every community with career-connected learning,” Cardona said as part of the announcement. More information on these grants can be found here

DOL Moves Forward With Apprenticeship Regulations Impacting CTE

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) formally published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) last week which is intended to significantly update and overhaul the existing regulatory framework for registered apprenticeship programs. As shared previously, this NPRM also includes a new “CTE Apprenticeship” component with implications for state CTE agencies and systems. Yesterday, DOL hosted a webinar providing a high-level overview of this proposal. An archived webcast, including related presentation materials, can be accessed here. Comments on the NPRM are due March 18 and can be submitted through this comment portal.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Returns from Recess

Friday, December 1st, 2023

Congress returned this week from its Thanksgiving recess with a list of important agenda items that must be addressed before the end of the year. Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Education announced new funding for full-service community schools while federal agencies announced the availability of free COVID-19 testing kits for schools. 

Agreement on Full-year FY24 Funding Remains Elusive

Prior to Thanksgiving, Congress passed another short-term extension of federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding. The continuing resolution (CR) bifurcated the 12 individual spending bills that fund federal operations into two separate groups, each with a different expiration date. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations component of this legislation would extend funding for programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) through February 2, along with seven other funding bills, while four other funding measures are set to expire on January 19 of next year.

With these new funding extensions now in place, lawmakers must still work to negotiate full-year FY24 funding legislation. However, lawmakers appear to be currently prioritizing other items on the legislative agenda before turning to this important issue. As these efforts take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the significant funding needs of the CTE community as part of the wider FY24 appropriations process. 

ED Announces New Community School Funding

On Tuesday, November 28, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the distribution of roughly $74 million in new funding for full-service community schools — comprehensive K-12 schools that are intended to provide more holistic and comprehensive wraparound services and related supports to learners and families to improve wider outcomes. “I am proud that the Biden-Harris Administration is expanding the number of community schools across the country as an evidence-based strategy to Raise the Bar in education and to deliver on our commitment to support students, families, and whole communities,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated as part of the announcement. The new round of funding will target schools in four new states, including Idaho, Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio. Read more in the press release.

COVID-19 Test Kits Available for Schools 

This week the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new effort to distribute COVID-19 testing kits free of charge to schools across the country. “The Biden-Harris Administration remains a committed partner with schools in keeping our students and teachers safe and healthy,” said ED’s Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Roberto Rodriguez as part of the announcement. Read more in the press release.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Senate Returns from August Recess to Busy Fall Agenda

Friday, September 8th, 2023

The Senate returned to Capitol Hill this past Tuesday following its annual August recess while lawmakers in the House are expected to return next week. Elsewhere, policymakers have started to collect ideas regarding how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact education and workforce development, while the U.S. Secretary of Education launches a back-to-school bus tour, announces educator diversity efforts and issues new guidance related to teaching and learning in schools. 

Senate Reconvenes for New Work Period

The Senate reconvened this week following its annual August recess. Lawmakers in the House are due back to Capitol Hill next week. On their return to Washington, D.C., the Senate has focused primarily on addressing Congress’s failure to complete work on the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget before the new fiscal year begins on October 1. Just before August recess, the Senate appropriations committee successfully advanced all 12 of the individual appropriations bills that compose the federal budget on a bipartisan basis but these proposals have yet to be approved by the full chamber and reconciled with forthcoming proposals in the House. 

Lawmakers in the House, meanwhile, have been unable to similarly advance their own spending proposals, including legislation providing funding for Career Technical Education (CTE) via the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*). More importantly, the House and Senate’s proposed funding levels for FY24 differ substantially, with lawmakers in the lower chamber proposing significant cuts to federal spending which do not conform to the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA)—a legislative agreement reached earlier this year that prevented a default on the nation’s debt obligations.

Stopgap legislation, known as a continuing resolution (CR), will likely be needed to avert a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins later this month. Federal lawmakers are continuing to negotiate a path forward. Conservative lawmakers in the House recently issued a series of policy and spending demands in exchange for their support for any CR, including prioritizing spending levels that fall well below those required by the FRA. House Republicans, led by Speaker McCarthy (R-CA), have further indicated that they want a shorter-term CR rather than one lasting through the end of the year while the Senate and the Biden Administration want a temporary funding extension lasting until the holiday season to provide more time to negotiate a full-year appropriations package.

Given the significant differences between the House and Senate FY24 spending proposals and the positions currently taken by the House, Senate, and the White House, negotiations are expected to be extremely contentious in the coming weeks and months ahead. As these talks move forward, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust funding for critical funding streams important to the CTE community. Be sure to let your Senators and Representatives know how important CTE funding is by clicking here

Ranking Member Cassidy Issues Request for Information on AI

On September 6, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Cassidy (R-LA) published a new white paper on artificial intelligence and the potential implications for policy areas falling under the HELP Committee’s jurisdiction. AI is still an emerging topic for Congress with two hearings scheduled next week in the Senate within the Judiciary and Commerce Committees.

Ranking Member Cassidy has requested feedback from the public and stakeholders regarding several issues likely to arise in the coming years as AI is further deployed and leveraged in different facets of daily life, including in education and workforce development. Specifically, the Ranking Member seeks feedback on whether and how AI can be used in educational settings, how education leaders promote a better understanding of AI, both among students and their peers, and how these technologies can be used to improve student learning while not diminishing learners’ critical thinking skills. Notably, the white paper includes several questions related to whether and how CTE systems and programs can leverage AI and provide learners more opportunities to pursue pathways in related fields. 

ED Launches Back to School Bus Tour

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has been on a “Back to School Bus Tour 2023: Raise the Bar”—a week-long multi-state trip across the nation to highlight the work schools, districts, institutions, and states are doing to support students as they collectively return to classrooms over the next few weeks. The tour includes stops in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota and features priorities and initiatives that the agency has been promoting throughout the Biden Administration, including its “Career Connected High School” efforts which are intended to promote key pillars of high-quality CTE. More information about the tour can be accessed here. In addition, the Department also recently published a factsheet highlighting the Biden Administration’s ongoing efforts to support learners as they return to school this fall. 

ED Announces Educator Diversity Efforts

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has announced that it will host two convenings in late October to find, promote and encourage wider educator diversity efforts. The first of these national meetings will be a Conference on Equity in Opportunity and will be held in Denver October 26-27. The second meeting, the Teach to Lead Summit, will take place in Denver on October 27. The announcement also highlighted recent ED efforts to prioritize teacher diversity including through investments in teacher quality partnership grants, August Hawkins Centers of Excellence programs, and the Supporting Effective Educator Development. More information can be found here

Office of Civil Rights Issues New Guidance on Race and School Programming

Late last month, ED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued new guidance regarding how and in what ways schools may include programming aimed at fostering racially inclusive communities. The guidance updates OCR’s legal interpretation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which provides further clarity regarding under what circumstances schools may develop curricula and provide programs that promote racially inclusive school communities. “Today’s resource shares with school communities practical guidance about whether and when federal civil rights laws permit – and in some cases require – schools to take actions related to race, as well as whether and when these same laws may require that schools not act based on race,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon during the release of this guidance. The full letter can be accessed here

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: New CTE Innovation Grants Announced As Congress Remains On Recess

Friday, August 18th, 2023

Congress remains on its annual August recess this week while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announces new innovation funding and the Biden Administration seeks to prioritize cybersecurity for the education community. 

FY24 Funding Likely to Top the Congressional Agenda Next Month

Lawmakers remained in home states and districts this week as part of Congress’ annual August recess. Congress is expected to return in the early part of September where it is widely expected that federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding for the federal government will be the top priority. Recently, Democratic and Republican leaders have indicated the likely need to pass a short-term stopgap spending legislation, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to provide more time to negotiate full-year FY24 appropriations legislation for programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*) and other related education and workforce development programs. In recent weeks, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) sent a letter to Congressional appropriators urging them to enact funding legislation recently advanced by the Senate which would provide a $40 million increase for Perkins V’s basic state grant program. 

We encourage the wider CTE community to reach out to their lawmakers during this recess period to urge them to support this legislation as Congress continues to negotiate full-year FY24 funding. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust funding for the CTE community as part of the ongoing FY24 budget and appropriations process.

ED Solicits Applications for Career Connected High Schools

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) finalized priorities and selection criteria for the Perkins V Innovation and Modernization grant program. These definitions, selection criteria, and requirements will be used by a panel of peer reviewers in the coming months to select approximately 10-20 projects and award approximately $1-1.5 million in funding over a 12 month period. Applicants that are eligible to apply for this funding include consortia of a wide range of entities including local education agencies, area technical centers, institutions of higher education and state education agencies among many others. Grant funding is required to be used for four main strategies, which ED identifies as “keys” to its wider Career-Connected High School initiative, which include career and postsecondary advisement, dual or concurrent enrollment, industry-recognized credentials and work-based learning. 

Interested applicants are encouraged to notify ED of their interest to apply for grant funding by September 13 with applications due by October 13, 2023. More information regarding the program, including how to apply, can be found here

First Lady Jill Biden Hosts K-12 Cybersecurity Summit

Last week, First Lady Jill Biden joined U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, school administrators, educators, and education technology providers from across the country for the Back to School Safely: Cybersecurity Summit for K-12 Schools. As part of the event, the Biden Administration released three infrastructure briefs authored by the Office of Educational Technology. The briefs are part of a nationwide effort to create more secure and resilient digital ecosystems. Read the full White House press release here. Together these efforts, along with a Back to School Safely: Cybersecurity Summit for K-12 Schools at the White House, are intended to unite leaders from the Biden Administration, education, industry, and advocacy groups to make advancements on the crucial issue in fortifying cybersecurity resilience throughout the educational continuum. The archived event can be found here.

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Career Counseling Legislation Introduced & Efforts to Address Teacher Shortages Unveiled

Friday, August 4th, 2023

While Congress left Washington, D.C. this week to return to home districts and states as part of its annual August recess, the Biden Administration made a series of announcements related to educator preparation efforts and cyber workforce needs. Elsewhere, Advance CTE recently endorsed career counseling legislation introduced in the House. 

Congress Goes on Recess

This week lawmakers in both chambers of Congress returned to their districts and states for the annual August recess. Congress is expected to return in early September to a long list of important issues, including the need to find consensus on full-year federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) appropriations. Advance CTE anticipates that lawmakers will most likely need to consider several potential pathways forward to bridge the significant spending gap between the House and Senate’s respective visions for FY24 funding, especially regarding funding for important education and workforce development programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*). 

When Congress’s FY24 spending negotiations resume after the recess, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust funding for Perkins V and other vitally important investments in education and workforce development. In support of these efforts, we encourage the Career Technical Education (CTE) community to contact their members of Congress during this crucial period of time to ask them to support recently advanced appropriations legislation in the Senate which would provide a $40 million increase in funding for Perkins V’s basic state grant program. 

Lawmakers Introduce Career Counseling Legislation

Last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by House CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced the Creating Opportunities to Thrive Act (COTA). Advance CTE is proud to endorse this legislation which would expand federal support for career counseling programs and allow for more comprehensive public outreach via the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). “[WIOA] is an integral part of the national workforce education and training system, and this bill takes important steps to maximize WIOA so that every learner is aware of the resources they need to support their journey to career success,” Advance CTE’s Executive Director, Kate Kreamer said upon introduction. Broadly COTA is intended to ensure that more learners across the nation are aware of the services, supports, and programs offered by WIOA and other federal investments in skills development. More on the legislation can be found here

ED & Labor Announce New Teacher Preparation Efforts

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a number of new efforts to improve the educator talent pipeline and address persistent nationwide shortages of qualified instructional personnel. The agencies announced the development of new national apprenticeship standards for K-12 teachers, developed by a collection of organizations known as the pathways alliance. These standards serve as a template for interested states and local stakeholders to develop and implement their own registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs) for the teaching profession.

In addition, ED and DOL have announced the availability of $27 million in new funding for educator preparation programs, an additional $65 million for DOL to help develop and scale more K-12 teacher RAPs, identified a new intermediary to further expand on these efforts, and issued a policy brief highlighting promising best practices amongst states. More on this announcement can be found here.

Biden Administration Issues New Cyber Education and Workforce Strategy

On Monday, July 31, the Biden Administration announced that it had completed its first-ever National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES). This strategy is intended to address the education and workforce needs of the cyber and information technology sectors of the economy. Advance CTE provided input into this strategy as it was under development. The announcement includes a number of commitments from public and private entities and makes a number of recommendations for improving education and workforce development efforts to more effectively support this segment of the economy. More on the strategy can be accessed here

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Equity Plans Unveiled by Federal Agencies as FY23 Efforts Get Underway

Friday, 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:

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

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Advances WIOA Proposal

Friday, 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

By admin in Legislation
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Legislative Update: FY23 Budget Released as House Moves Forward With WIOA

Friday, 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

By admin in COVID-19 and CTE, Legislation
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Legislative Update: Historic Investment in the Nation’s Infrastructure

Monday, November 8th, 2021

Congressional Democrats continued to negotiate and debate two interrelated pieces of legislation over the weekend, including investments in the nation’s physical infrastructure as well as a set of wider domestic spending priorities. Late Friday evening, lawmakers came together and passed a historic investment in the nation’s infrastructure while setting up a timeline to pass the remainder of President Biden’s domestic agenda.

House Democrats Pass Infrastructure Bill and Aim to Complete Budget Reconciliation by mid-November 

Since the spring, Congressional Democrats have pursued a “two-track” legislative strategy tying together legislation that would invest in the nation’s physical infrastructure (i.e. roads, bridges, waterways, and connectivity), known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), along with complementary legislation intended to invest in the human infrastructure via the Congressional budget reconciliation process. These domestic priorities related to human infrastructure are necessary, at least in part, to preparing the skilled workforce needed to make the BIF’s vision for the nation’s future infrastructure a success. Connecting the two pieces of legislation–together representing the totality of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda–has been Congressional Democrats’ core strategy to garner the necessary support in both chambers to pass both of these bills this year. 

On Friday, this months-long effort bore fruit as House lawmakers passed the BIF, which will invest $550 billion in the nation’s physical infrastructure over the next decade. Projects for this investment will range from updates to the electrical grid to the electrification of busses and improvements for roads and other transit hubs. Significantly, the bill includes $65 billion for the expansion of broadband connectivity efforts along with $200 million for lead pipe remediation in public K-12 schools. 

In the lead up to the BIF’s passage late Friday night, however, lawmakers continued to struggle to find the necessary votes within the Democratic Caucus to pass the Build Back Better Act (BBBA)– legislation that would invest $1.75 trillion over the next several years in a slew of complementary domestic priorities including Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development (as shared last week). 

Several lawmakers in the House withheld their support for this bill citing the need for a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score detailing the costs and related benefits of the legislation. As a consequence, Democratic leaders and key members of the caucus struck a deal to pass the BIF while committing to a vote on the BBBA during the week of November 15. Following the BIF’s passage, President Biden issued a statement early Saturday morning in support of the legislation while also committing to the passage of the BBBA aligned with this agreement. 

Yet it remains unclear when the CBO score will become available and whether House lawmakers will vote on the BBBA, as agreed to Friday evening and codified in a related rule, during the week of November 15. Despite this uncertainty, House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) circulated a Dear Colleague letter on Sunday re-committing to this timeline when the House reconvenes next week. Should the House pass the BBBA during the week of November 15, a timeline for its consideration and passage in the Senate remains much more opaque. As this process continues to unfold, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust investment in CTE, via the BBBA, to ensure the historic investments Congress made in the nation’s infrastructure can be made a reality.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By admin in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Continued debates on federal spending, a new resolution introduced for National Career Development Month and more approved state ARP plans

Friday, November 5th, 2021

Congressional Democrats continued to negotiate and debate within their caucus the shape and contents of their forthcoming domestic spending bill. Meanwhile, a key lawmaker in the House has introduced a resolution to recognize November as National Career Development Month. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved two more state plans as part of the most recent COVID-19 (coronavirus) aid package passed by Congress earlier this Spring.

House Democrats Revise BBBA and Are Poised to Approve It

On Wednesday, the House Rules Committee unveiled revised text for the Build Back Better Act (BBBA)– $1.75 trillion legislation that would invest in a number of President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ domestic priorities, including Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development. As shared last week, this proposal would provide $600 million for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant formula program and $100 million for the law’s Innovation and Modernization competitive grant program. In addition, the proposal would provide new funding for several other programs of interest including apprenticeship expansion, “Grow Your Own” teacher and school leader development programs, and additional funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Emergency Connectivity Fund among other initiatives.

Following the release of this draft proposal, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) issued a joint  statement outlining the organizations’ support for the legislation but calling for the inclusion of Community College and Industry Partnership grant funding. Significantly, this revised version of the BBBA now includes $5 billion for this program. Advance CTE applauds House lawmakers’ acknowledgment of the importance of this proposed investment in the nation’s postsecondary education system and is particularly encouraged to note that certain Area Technical Centers would be eligible to apply for these grants under the current proposal. 

Following the release of this revised text, the House Rules Committee met late into the night on Wednesday, teeing up a possible vote on the legislation sometime on Friday, November 5. The measure, along with legislation investing in the nation’s physical infrastructure, are widely expected to pass by a slim margin in the chamber later today (Friday, November 5) although a vote and related debate have not yet started at the time of this writing. 

Should this current timeline hold, and with both Chambers out on recess next week, the earliest the BBBA could be taken up by the Senate is sometime during the week of November 15. However, key members of the Democratic caucus, particularly Sen. Manchin (D-WV), have so far been noncommittal regarding their support for the proposal as currently constructed in the House. This likely means that the Senate will make changes to the legislation prior to final passage. It remains unclear what potential changes will be made to the bill in order to garner the Senator’s support. As this process unfolds, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust investment in these programs as part of any final legislative agreement.

CTE Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Langevin Introduces Measure Career Development

On Monday, Rep. Langevin (D-RI) introduced a legislative measure in the House expressing support for designating November 2021 as “National Career Development Month.” The resolution highlights the immense importance of career development activities and its impact, including the work of career counselors, that it has on learners. The resolution also elevates a recent Harris Interactive Poll which found that only 13 percent of those surveyed had received career development support from a school or private counselor, or other career specialists.  

ED Approves Two More State ARP Plans

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), passed exclusively by Congressional Democrats earlier this year, authorized $122 billion in additional pandemic aid funding to be disbursed to states and K-12 school districts this past spring. Since that time, ED has distributed two-thirds of this funding to states via a formula detailed in the legislation. The Department held back the remaining third of these funds, however, until states and territories submitted plans detailing how they would make use of these resources to support students as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

On Monday, November 4, ED approved two more of these plans, sending these additional funds to California and Colorado. Only five more states, along with Puerto Rico, have yet to have their ARP plans approved. The current status of all state ARP plans, including highlights of plans approved by the Department so far, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By admin in Legislation
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