Posts Tagged ‘Department of Labor’

Legislative Update: Congress Set to Return Next Week to a Busy Agenda

Friday, April 14th, 2023

Over the last two weeks both chambers of Congress have remained on spring recess and are expected to return next week. Meanwhile, leaders in the Senate are seeking input regarding the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) while the Biden Administration announces new grant opportunities and regulatory proposals. 

Secretary Cardona Set to Testify Next Week

The House and the Senate are expected to return next week following a two-week recess. When lawmakers return to Capitol Hill, they will likely turn their attention to the fiscal year (FY24) budget and appropriations process among several other priority areas, including the need to raise the nation’s borrowing authority.

As part of this process, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations Committee next Tuesday, April 18. The hearing will focus on the Biden Administration’s recent FY24 budget request to Congress and will provide an opportunity for committee members to examine the proposals contained in the request. This hearing will be the first of several committee discussions on this topic expected to take place over the coming weeks and months as Congress deliberates about the FY24 budget.  

ED Seeks Peer Reviewers

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently published a request for peer reviewers for a slew of upcoming competitive grant programs administered by the agency. These efforts include upcoming grant competitions authorized by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) Innovation and Modernization (I&M) grant program– a competitive grant initiative overseen by ED’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE).  Peer reviewers serve a critical function of objectively reviewing grant applications for various discretionary grants that ED oversees each year, including these forthcoming I&M grants. Those interested in applying to serve as a peer reviewer can do so here.

First Lady Highlights Career Pathway Efforts in Vermont

Last week, First Lady Jill Biden visited an electric aerospace company based in Vermont to highlight the company’s ongoing work in the clean energy sector and its efforts to provide career pathways for local students. The First Lady was joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Vermont Governor Phil Scott, and other federal, state, and local officials. In particular the visit highlighted North Country Career Center, an area technical center serving K-12 students and adult learners in the area, and provides a number of Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways to growing, in-demand sectors of the state’s economy. “What you are doing in this community is the future of our workforce and how we grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out. These aren’t red ideas or blue ideas. They’re American ideas,” said Biden during the visit. Additional coverage can be found here.

DOL Announces $80 Million in New Grant Funding for Infrastructure Jobs 

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced $80 million in new funding for the Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs grant program– an initiative intended to support recent Congressional investments in the nation’s infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy sectors. Postsecondary institutions, state and local governments, and other related stakeholders are eligible to apply for grants ranging from $500,000 to $5 million to develop career pathways programs that lead to jobs in these critical sectors of the American economy. More information regarding the funding opportunity announcement can be found here

Senate HELP Committee Seeks Input on ESRA

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) recently issued a request for information (RFI) regarding the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA), Educational Technical Assistance Act, and the National Assessment of Education Progress Authorization Act. In particular, the HELP Committee is seeking input from the public and stakeholders on a range of issues that should be addressed in a potential reauthorization of these laws. Among other aspects, these pieces of legislation authorize a wide range of education-related research, technical assistance, and statistical collections. Feedback in response to this request is due by close of business on April 19. A letter outlining a series of questions related to the RFI can be found here

ED Proposes New Title IX Rule

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) proposed a new rule regarding student athletic eligibility under Title IX—a longstanding federal civil rights law that is intended to prevent sex-based discrimination. The proposal specifically seeks to address the issue of transgender athletes’ eligibility to play on sports teams in accordance with their gender identity. The proposed rule would prevent schools and institutions from adopting or implementing policies that broadly ban transgender students from athletics participation but leaves additional flexibility for schools and institutions to make further determinations based on their unique circumstances. The proposal comes as House Republicans continue to advance legislation (H.R. 734) that would broadly restrict transgender students from participating in school sports. The full proposed rule can be found here and will be open for public comment for 30 days.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: CTE Funding Remains at the Forefront of Legislative Attention and Your Help is Needed

Friday, March 17th, 2023

This week Advance CTE and partners continued to advocate for proposals that will facilitate strong investments in CTE later this year. The House was on recess while the Senate remained in session. Elsewhere additional details regarding the President’s budget have been released along with a slew of other related developments. 

Your Help Needed – Support Non-Defense Discretionary Spending

Advance CTE has been working this year to ensure that Congress provides a robust allocation for the forthcoming federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) Labor-HHS-Education appropriations legislation. Known as a 302(b), this is the overall amount of funding that will be available for federally funded education initiatives and related programs, like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act(Perkins V), in the upcoming FY24 process. The larger this overall cap is, the more flexibility lawmakers will have to invest in issues important to the Career Technical Education (CTE)  community. In support of these efforts, Advance CTE encourages local, state and national organizations within your network to sign-on to this letter in support of this request by March 23. To do so, click here

Additional Details on President’s Budget Released

As shared last week, President Biden released a long-anticipated FY24 budget request to Congress. This release provided a high-level overview of the request, which proposes a $43 million increase for Perkins  V’s basic state grant program, along with a $200 million request for a competitive grant program focused on CTE among other items of interest to the CTE community. On Monday of this week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released Congressional Budget Justifications (CBJs) for this request. These CBJs provide additional information and detail regarding many of the proposals initially outlined by the Biden Administration last week. These can be accessed here.

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Unveils Youth Employment Initiative

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, who is set to leave the Biden Administration later this month, convened a “Youth Employment Works” summit to elevate his department’s new youth employment strategy. The summit and related strategy emphasize a “no wrong door” approach to providing services for youth, maximizing public-private partnerships and promoting paid work experiences for young people. DOL is also soliciting feedback from the public regarding how stakeholders are leveraging federal funds for these and other related purposes. More on the summit and the strategy can be found here

Congressional CTE Caucus Briefings 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Advance CTE hosted two Congressional staff briefings last week. These briefings provided an introduction of CTE, an overview of the mechanics of Perkins V and highlighted local program examples of these efforts in action. The briefings also featured remarks from House CTE Caucus Co-chair Rep. Bonamici (D-OR). 

New Short-Term Pell Proposal Released 

Last Friday, House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the “Jobs to Compete Act,” legislation that seeks to expand federal Pell grant eligibility for certain postsecondary CTE programs. This is the third Congressional proposal on this topic which indicates significant interest amongst lawmakers on this issue. More on the legislative proposal can be found here and here

OCTAE Publishes New Apprenticeship Guidance 

Recently, ED’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) published new guidance regarding Perkins V and how the law could be used to support apprenticeship programs and related activities. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze this non-regulatory guidance and will continue to work with the CTE community on this issue. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: President Biden Releases Congressional Budget Request

Friday, March 10th, 2023

This week President Biden released a much anticipated annual Congressional budget request for federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24).  In addition, House Republicans have made changes to appropriations legislation rules that impact CTE funding. Advance CTE asks members to encourage their representatives in  Congress to support much needed reforms to federal Pell Grants. 

President Biden Unveils FY24 Budget Request 

Earlier today, President Biden released his long-anticipated federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget request to Congress. The request proposes a $43 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program– a proposed three percent increase over FY23 enacted levels. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) have been advocating for a $400 million increase for this program to close an inflationary gap in funding that has widened considerably since FY04. Advance CTE will continue to pursue this goal with partners on Capitol Hill as the wider FY24 process unfolds later this year.  

In addition, the Biden Administration has also renewed its request, first made last year, for $200 million in new funding for the creation of a new competitive grant program known as “Career Connected High Schools.” This initiative seeks to prioritize dual and concurrent enrollment, work-based learning, industry-recognized credentials and career counseling. Notably, Perkins V’s basic state grant program includes these priorities as eligible uses of funds and many states and local recipients currently use these resources to support these, and many more, opportunities for learners. Advance CTE has previously raised equity concerns regarding the Career Connected High Schools grant program–which the Administration estimated last year would only reach 32 programs in total–due to the limited scope and reach of a competitive grant program. Advance CTE and ACTE released a statement outlining these concerns following the formal publication of the budget. 

Encouragingly, the budget request proposes significant new mandatory and discretionary funding to make two years of community college tuition free, so long as students and institutions meet certain criteria. The request also proposes a $25 million increase in funding for Student Success and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act)– another key source of federal funding that can be used in support of CTE. Regarding the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) portion of the request, the Administration is proposing $50 million in additional funding for registered apprenticeship programs, $200 million for the creation of a sector-partnership grant program and $11 million for the Workforce Data Quality Initiative– nearly double the FY23 enacted level. Elsewhere in this portion of the budget, the Administration has proposed additional investments to improve labor market information and to modernize outdated IT systems to better serve workers.  

Additional details regarding the budget are expected to be available next week. The release of the budget formally begins the wider FY24 budget and appropriations process in Congress—an effort that is expected to be challenging in a divided Congress. As this process gets underway, Advance CTE will continue to work with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure the funding needs of the CTE community are reflected in final legislation. 

House Republicans Ban Education Earmarks

For the last few years, members of Congress have been able to make specific funding requests in support of projects or initiatives related to their home state or district. Known formally as “community project funding” in the House and informally as “earmarks” elsewhere, these requests totaled $290 million in last year’s (FY23) spending package for career education initiatives. Last week, House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) announced new guidance for the upcoming FY24 budget and appropriations process. Among other notable changes, the guidance will not allow earmarks for the Labor-HHS-Education funding bill—legislation where Perkins V derives funding—in the upcoming budget and appropriations cycle. Elsewhere, the Senate has announced that it will still allow such requests this year which will be due April 13. 

Encourage Congress to Support the Short-term Pell Grant Expansion

As shared previously, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mike Braun (R-IN) reintroduced the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S.161)– legislation that would expand federal Pell grant funding eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs that meet certain criteria. Most recently companion legislation has been introduced in the House (H.R. 793) by Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH), Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), Michael Turner (R-OH) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ). 

This legislation is a longstanding federal policy priority for Advance CTE and is an important way to expand learner access to high-quality CTE program opportunities at the postsecondary level. Along with our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE),  we encourage you to reach out to your members of Congress to ask them to support this vitally important legislation and to share this information with your wider networks. 

To contact Congress about the JOBS Act, click here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Teacher Pay and Healthcare Workforce Shortages a Focus as Senate Agenda Begins to Unfold

Friday, February 24th, 2023

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers have largely been on a recess period while the Senate has continued to take steps to organize within the chamber. Elsewhere, leaders in the Senate have drawn attention to the issue of teacher pay while also examining workforce shortages within the healthcare industry. 

HELP Committee Holds Healthcare Shortage Hearing

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) held a hearing on February 16 to examine persistent workforce shortages within the healthcare industry. Witnesses included an array of postsecondary institutional leaders, many of whom emphasized the importance of quality career advisement starting in high school and middle school. The hearing also emphasized the importance of early career exposure, to help put more students on pathways leading to careers in the healthcare industry. Witnesses highlighted the impact of high-quality work-based learning opportunities, particularly apprenticeships, as a useful strategy to meet ongoing workforce challenges in the sector. An archived recording of the hearing can be found here.     

Senate HELP Committee Chair Sanders Hosts Teacher Pay Town Hall

Last week, Senator Sanders (I-VT) held a town hall with leaders of the two largest teacher unions, as well as Senator Markey (D-MA) along with several teachers, to raise awareness about the issue of teacher pay and to tout forthcoming legislation that would create a nationwide minimum salary for K-12 teachers. “Raising teacher salaries to at least $60,000 a year and ensuring competitive pay for all of our teachers is one of the most important steps we can take to address the teacher shortage in America and to improve the quality of our public school system in America,” Sanders said during the event. An archived webcast of the town hall can be found here.

Senate Appropriations Committee Takes Shape

Last week, the new Chair joined by the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations committee—Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) respectively— announced the leaders for the individual subcommittees that compose the appropriations committee and oversee federal funding for the 12 spending accounts that make up the federal budget. Of note for the CTE community, Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, along with Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), will serve as Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee—the entity that oversees and determines annual investments in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other federal education and workforce programs of interest to the CTE community. More information on the announcement can be found here.

Secretary of Labor Walsh Resigning 

After serving as U.S. Secretary of Labor for the last two years, Marty Walsh has announced that he will be resigning from this position in mid-March. In a goodbye letter to his Department, Walsh acknowledged U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Julie Su saying, in part, “. . .Julie is an incredible leader and has been central to our success as a team and as a department. With the kind of leadership and talent assembled across the department, I am confident there will be continuity and the work will be sustained.” Walsh is leaving the department to lead the National Hockey League’s Players’ Association as the group’s next Executive Director. 

Encourage Congress to Support the Short-term Pell Grant Expansion

As shared previously, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mike Braun (R-IN) reintroduced the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S.161)– legislation that would expand federal Pell grant funding eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs that meet certain criteria. Most recently companion legislation has been introduced in the House (H.R. 793) by Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH), Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), Michael Turner (R-OH) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ). 

This legislation is a key and longstanding federal policy priority for Advance CTE as it is an important way to expand learner access to high-quality CTE program opportunities at the postsecondary level. Along with our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE),  we encourage you to reach out to your members of Congress to ask them to support this vitally important legislation and to share this information with your wider networks. 

To contact Congress about the JOBS Act, click here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Set to Extend FY22 Funding Via CR

Friday, September 30th, 2022

The last two weeks, lawmakers in Congress have sought to pass temporary funding legislation intended to avoid a government shutdown. Elsewhere federal agencies have made changes to apprenticeship regulations and distributed new funds for teacher professional development and schools, while Congress celebrates Workforce Development Month. 

Congress Closes in on Temporary Funding Extension

As shared previously, lawmakers in the House and Senate have not been able to reach consensus this year on the 12 individual spending bills that fund federal government operations and programs. As a result, lawmakers have been negotiating a continuing resolution (CR)—short-term legislation that simply extends current fiscal year 2022 (FY22) funding levels for a specific period of time. With the formal start of FY23 set to begin tomorrow (October 1), a CR will avert a government shutdown and related lapse in funding for federal programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). 

Late Monday evening, September 26, Senate Democrats published the text of a CR to extend current fiscal year 2022 (FY22) funding levels through December 16, 2022. The proposed legislation also includes additional emergency funding for a wide array of other pressing national priorities, such as recent natural disasters and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine; a summary of the CR’s major provisions can be accessed here. As reported last week, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) had hoped to attach environmental permitting reform legislation to this package which was a primary source of contention for both sides seeking agreement. On Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Manchin dropped this request when it became clear there was not enough support in the chamber to include it in this legislative measure. Following these behind-the-scenes discussions, the Senate took a series of votes and ultimately passed this CR by a margin of 72-25.

This measure was passed by the House earlier today along party lines. The passage of the CR is one of the last agenda items for Congress before the upcoming midterm elections. Lawmakers will likely spend most of their time between now and the elections in home states and districts campaigning. Lawmakers must revisit FY23 funding in December by either passing another temporary spending bill or completing work on the annual budget. As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will continue to work with its partners on Capitol Hill to secure robust investments in CTE, including Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other CTE community federal funding priorities.

ED Distributes $1 Billion in Title IV-A Funding

This past summer, Congress approved a bipartisan gun and school safety package in response to several mass shootings that took place across the nation. Dubbed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938), the legislation made a number of modest changes to gun policy including strengthening background checks for gun purchases to include a review of juvenile justice records for individuals under the age of 21. In addition, the legislation invested significant new funding into K-12 schools to assist with mental health efforts within communities. These funds include an additional $1 billion for Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program—specifically to help states and school districts foster safer and healthier learning environments in schools.

On September 29, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) disbursed these funds to states and issued a Dear Colleague letter to chief state school officers encouraging them to emphasize student social-emotional learning and mental health needs, engagement with students and families, and prioritizing funding to meet the needs of the nation’s most underserved learners with these newly authorized federal resources. More information about the initiative can be found here.  

Lawmakers Designate September Workforce Development Month

Earlier this month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S. Res. 780—a measure designating September 2022 as “National Workforce Development Month.” The effort garnered bipartisan support from nearly a third of the Senate upon introduction and was recently considered and agreed to in the upper chamber. A companion resolution was also introduced in the House and sponsored and led by Rep. Bonamici (D-OR). These resolutions are intended to elevate workforce development efforts across the nation and draw attention to the importance of investing in related systems of skill development. 

DOL Formally Rescinds IRAP Rules

Over the last few years, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sought to create a parallel subset of apprenticeship programs known as “Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs” (IRAPs). Compared to registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs), IRAPS had relatively fewer programmatic requirements and would be recognized by third-party entities authorized by DOL (known as standards recognition entities or “SREs”). While IRAPs were formally launched under the previous presidential administration, relatively few programs were ever fully implemented. For this and many other reasons, DOL formally published a new rule this week rescinding IRAPs’ existing federal authorization. Existing IRAPs and SREs are “. . . encouraged to consider registering their programs with DOL or a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA). Such entities are encouraged to reach out to the Apprenticeship Director in their State to receive technical assistance and explore such options further.”

OCTAE Launches Future Finder Challenge

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced a $1 million “Future Finder Challenge” to accelerate the development of tools and related technologies that can support career navigation efforts for adults. “Developing digital career navigation tools for adult learners will expand equitable access to career opportunities — which will increase upward mobility and strengthen the broader American workforce,” OCTAE’s Assistant Secretary Amy Loyd, Ed.L.D., said during the announcement which was also intended to celebrate National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. The challenge is structured as an “open innovation invitation” to spur the development of services, products, and programs that can more effectively support individuals search for and navigate opportunities in the labor market. A related press release from the department can be found here.

ED Awards $60 Million for Teacher Pipeline Efforts

On September 27, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it had awarded $60 million in new grant funding for the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant program. The SEED program is intended to support evidence-based efforts that “. . . prepare, develop, or enhance the skills of [k-12] educators.” This round of grantmaking awarded 22 three-year grants which, according to the Biden Administration, brings the FY22 total for additional support for teachers to $285 million. More information on this announcement can be accessed here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Lawmakers Return to Capitol Hill as Advance CTE Hosts Assistant Secretary Amy Loyd and the Biden Administration Works to Address Teacher Shortages

Friday, September 9th, 2022

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers have returned from their annual August recess to address upcoming federal funding deadlines. Meanwhile, Advance CTE hosted Assistant Secretary Dr. Amy Loyd to launch its fall policy conversation series while the Biden Administration makes a series of announcements related to teacher shortages, new U.S. Department of Education (ED) nominees, and more. 

Lawmakers Return to Capitol Hill

Federal legislators have been in home states and districts since early August as part of Congress’ annual summertime recess. This week lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill and are facing a fast-approaching deadline at the end of the month to pass federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding legislation. For most of the year, Democrats and Republicans have been unable to find consensus on the 12 individual spending bills that compose the federal government and which are due annually by September 30. Given this lack of agreement, lawmakers have re-focused their attention this week on negotiating shorter-term, stop gap funding legislation, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR). This legislative measure will simply extend current FY22 funding levels for all federal operations and programs, like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), for a specified amount of time. 

At the moment, lawmakers are negotiating the length of time this CR will cover and what, if any, additional provisions—beyond the extension of FY22 funding levels—will be included. Advance CTE currently anticipates that this CR will last until after the upcoming midterm elections set for November. As these talks continue, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust investments in Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other programs of interest to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. 

Advance CTE Hosts Discussion with Assistant Secretary Dr. Amy Loyd 

On Wednesday, September 6, Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green hosted Dr. Amy Loyd — the recently confirmed Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) at ED — for a wide ranging discussion regarding her pathway to CTE and her plans for the office’s future direction. The conversation highlighted Dr. Loyd’s unique career and educational experiences, which began in New Mexico, and her wider work on CTE policy as a state, local, and national leader. In particular, Loyd emphasized the importance of culturally responsive instruction and the need for CTE programs to reflect the communities they serve. A recording of the discussion can be found here

President Biden Nominates New Head for RSA

Late last Friday, September 2, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Danté Quintin Allen to be the next Commissioner of the Rehabilitative Services Administration (RSA) at ED. The RSA is tasked with supporting states to deliver vocational rehabilitation and related services for individuals with disabilities to ensure they are able to find and sustain employment, live independently, and integrate with the wider community, and fully participate in the labor market. Allen currently serves as the Executive Director for CalABLE—a statewide program in California that provides savings and investment plans for individuals with disabilities. More information on the announcement can be found here. A date for further consideration in the Senate of Allen’s nomination has not yet been set. 

Cardona Announces Back-to-School Tour

On Wednesday, September 7, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the department will be undertaking a back-to-school bus tour beginning next week. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, First Lady Jill Biden, Second Gentleman Douglass Emhoff, and a number of other high-ranking USED officials will be participating in the week-long, multistate bus tour which will includes stops in Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Starting September 12, the tour is intended to highlight a number of the Administration’s efforts to support states, schools, students and families during the new school year. More about the tour can be found here

Biden Administration Announces Additional Actions to Address Teacher Shortages

Late last month,  the Biden Administration announced a series of additional actions aimed at addressing persistent nationwide teacher shortages. These efforts include new partnerships with the private sector to help increase awareness about career pathways leading to the teaching profession and the creation of new jobs portals to help facilitate connections between prospective candidates and teaching opportunities. In addition, the Administration highlighted  “Grow Your Own” CTE programs to prepare the next generation of educators as a key recommended strategy for more states and communities to consider when addressing teacher shortages. 

Notably, the Administration also announced that the next round of apprenticeship expansion grants—  $100 million in discretionary funding provided to DOL to promote and expand registered apprenticeship programs for priority populations and targeted economic sectors—will focus primarily on programs providing pathways to the teaching profession. More on this announcement can be found here.  

DOL Announces New Community College Grants 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled the most recent round of Strengthening Community Colleges Training (SCCT) grants. Administered by DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), these grants are intended to bolster community colleges’ ability to deliver high-quality skills development programs that lead to in-demand industries and related careers. “These grants are designed to empower community colleges to ensure their curriculum meets the needs of employers in their communities and equips workers with valuable skills,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh stated as part of this announcement. More information on these grants, including the most recent awardees, can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congressional Democrats’ Reconciliation Bill Signed Into Law as President Biden Makes Significant Announcement on Student Debt

Friday, August 26th, 2022

Over the last few weeks, President Biden signed another significant legislative package ushered through Congress by Democrats while apprenticeship programs celebrated an important anniversary as the Administration took further action on student loan debt. 

Inflation Reduction Act Signed Into Law

As shared previously, congressional Democrats recently announced that after a year and half of on-again-off-again negotiations they had finally found agreement on a legislative package that would make significant new investments in healthcare and climate change while raising revenues to offset the federal deficit by roughly $306 billion. Dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376), Democrats in Congress were able to advance this legislation using the budget reconciliation process– a legislative maneuver that allows lawmakers to approve legislation via a simple majority vote (and thus avoiding a likely Republican filibuster in the Senate). Previous versions of this proposal, known last year as the Build Back Better Act, envisioned significant new investments in Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development, but lawmakers were unable to come to consensus on these and many other initiatives originally included in this package. 

While the package does contain some modest investments in workforce and education, primarily focused within the climate provisions of the package, potential opportunities for the CTE community regarding these new sources of funding will become clearer in the months ahead as the law begins to be implemented by various federal agencies. This more streamlined bill was cleared by the House in recent weeks and signed into law by President Biden on August 16. More information about the bill can be accessed here

Registered Apprenticeships Celebrate 85th Anniversary

This month marked the 85th anniversary of the enactment of the National Apprenticeship Act (NAA)– federal legislation first passed and last updated by Congress in 1937. Also known as the Fitzgerald Act, this legislation created the federal system of registered apprenticeship overseen and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In recognition of this milestone DOL has launched a new “ApprenticeshipUSA” brand to cultivate a better understanding amongst the public regarding registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs). Additionally, the agency has launched an online dialogue about the future of RAPs, soliciting feedback for how to improve these programs and related systems. This online portal for public input will remain open through September 5, 2022 and can be accessed here

As a reminder, National Apprenticeship Week is fast approaching (November 14-20), so be on the lookout for more updates from DOL in the coming weeks ahead for how to promote RAPs in local communities throughout the nation.     

President Biden Takes Executive Action on Student Debt 

On Wednesday, August 24, President Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona unveiled the Administration’s plans to forgive up to $10,000 of federal student loan debt for borrowers making $125,000 or less annually. The plan would provide up to $20,000 in similar forgiveness for those who previously received a federal Pell grant and meet the same income eligibility requirements. In addition to this executive action, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced newly proposed regulations regarding how individuals pay back federal student loans in the future. Among these proposed changes are new plans to forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments for loan balances of $12,000 or less. ED estimates that this change would have the practical effect of allowing nearly all community college borrowers to be debt-free within 10 years. 

The White House’s factsheet on this executive action can be found here. Information regarding ED’s newly proposed income-driven repayment rules can be accessed here

CTE Research Network Grant Application Opportunity 

Last week, ED published a new grant opportunity inviting qualified applicants to lead the CTE Research Network. Authorized under the national activities section (Sec. 114) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and overseen by ED’s National Center for Education Research under the Institute of Education Sciences, the CTE research network is dedicated to researching various topics impacting CTE of national importance. Applications for this grant opportunity are due by February 23, 2023. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Advances FY23 Perkins V Funding Measure

Friday, July 1st, 2022

This week the House Committee on Appropriations considered and marked up its federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill– legislation that would provide funding to the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor as well as the programs that these agencies administer and oversee. 

House Lawmakers Advance FY23 Education Funding Bill

The House Committee on Appropriations has been busy the last few weeks finalizing each of the 12 individual spending bills that compose the federal government budget. As shared last week, the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies marked up and passed the federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Bill. This bill was further amended and later approved by the full committee on Thursday, June 30, by party-line vote 32-24. This legislation, which provides funding for the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL), as well as the programs these agencies administers, will now be knitted together later this month as part of a wider FY23 spending package House Democrats hope to pass in the near future. 

If enacted, the funding measure would provide $45 million for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program– a funding increase that exceeds President Biden’s request for this program and is aligned to what Congress provided in FY22. As CTE programs grapple with inflation and employers struggle to meet their labor needs, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education have continued to work with partners on Capitol Hill to secure an even larger investment in FY23 for this critically important program. The proposal also includes $50 million in additional funding for President Biden’s “Career Connected High School” initiative which, if enacted, would provide competitive grants to consortia of applicants. In addition, related report language from the bill would direct ED to improve data collection efforts to better understand CTE teacher shortages. 

Advance CTE expects the full House chamber to take up all 12 individual spending bills that compose the federal budget later this month. Further activity in the Senate on federal appropriations is still forthcoming and will likely resume when lawmakers return from their annual July 4 recess on July 11. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Legislative Update: Walsh Testifies on FY23 as FCC Releases New Funding

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Over the last two weeks, the U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh testified before Congress on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request while lawmakers in the House advanced FY23 appropriations legislation with implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) funding. Advance CTE also endorsed legislation aimed at promoting career awareness this week, while the Senate held a hearing on the pandemic’s impact on students’ learning. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission disbursed additional connectivity funds as part of a wider effort to provide affordable access to high-quality internet connections and devices, while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published new rules for Title IX. 

Labor Secretary Walsh Testifies on USDOL FY23 Budget Request 

Last week U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh testified before the House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding his Department’s FY23 budget request. Secretary Walsh and members of the committees discussed a wide range of topics including apprenticeship programs and other issues impacting workforce development efforts. Archived webcasts of these hearings, including testimony, can be found here and here

House Lawmakers Release and Markup FY23 Education Funding Bill

On Thursday, June 23, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing to consider and markup the FY23 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Bill. If enacted the bill would provide a 13 percent increase for ED and a nearly 12 percent increase for DOL over FY22 enacted funding levels. According to a preliminary summary document from the committee, the legislation proposes a $45 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins V) basic state grant program a 3.3 percent increase over FY22 enacted levels. The bill would also provide an additional $75 million for Student Support and Academic Enrichment state grants– a program authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act.  In addition, the legislation proposes significant increases to core formula programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as well as for apprenticeship programs. 

Late Thursday evening the subcommittee advanced this legislation by voice vote for further consideration by the full House Appropriations Committee—a next step that is currently scheduled for June 30. An archive webcast of the markup, including bill text, can be found here. Additional details about this spending package are still forthcoming and Advance CTE anticipates having additional clarity regarding the committee’s priorities next week ahead of the full committee markup. 

Advance CTE Endorses Career Counseling and Awareness Legislation 

This week, Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced the Creating Opportunities to Thrive and Advance Act (COTA)– legislation that, if enacted, would expand career counseling and awareness efforts funded by WIOA. Specifically, the legislation would allow certain WIOA funds to be used to allow for public outreach efforts highlighting CTE programs that lead to in-demand occupations and sectors. Advance CTE endorsed this legislation this week with the organization’s Executive Director Kimberly Green commenting, in part, “Understanding the career options available in high-growth, high-wage and in-demand fields is crucial for success in today’s economy. Advance CTE commends the introduction of this legislation which will promote awareness of the Career Technical Education programs that lead to these opportunities, helping to ensure more learners are empowered to pursue rewarding careers now and in the future.” More information about the bill can be found here.

Senate HELP Committee Holds Pandemic Learning Hearing

On Wednesday, June 22, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing titled “Supporting Students and Schools: Promising Practices to Get Back on Track.” The hearing focused on the impact of the pandemic on student learning and how schools are working to reverse student learning loss and get them back on track. During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) raised the issue of teacher shortages in critical areas such as CTE. She noted, in part, that “in Nevada, we’re hearing that we have about 1500 CTE educator positions, currently unfilled due to insufficient resources” and asked witnesses how best this persistent challenge could be addressed moving forward. An archived webcast, including witness testimony, can be accessed here

ED Proposes New Title IX Rule

On Thursday, June 23, the U.S. Department of Education proposed a set of changes to Title IX regulations—rules that are intended to prohibit sex discrimination at federally funded schools. The announcement coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Title IX and would expand these protections for transgender students among a host of other changes that determine how K-12 and postsecondary institutions must respond to complaints of sexual discrimination, harassment, or assault. The proposal will be published on the Federal Register soon, with ED inviting the public to comment and provide feedback on the proposal. In the meantime, an unofficial version of the proposal can be accessed here.

ED Hosts Pathways Event

On Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Department of Education hosted a virtual event titled “Pathways in Action.” The event convened experts and stakeholders including community colleges, employers, school districts, workforce development boards, and community-based organizations to share perspectives and best practices for how to advance high-quality career and college pathways for more learners. The event also emphasized the various roles that federal agencies have in implementing these pathways efforts as well as identifying areas where more improvements are needed to ensure that each learner can benefit from these opportunities. The convening is part of ED’s wider efforts to promote a proposed “Career Connected High Schools” initiative as part of its FY23 budget request. More on the event can be found here.  

DOL Hosts Good Jobs Summit 

Also on Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Department of Labor hosted a “Good Jobs” summit– a full day event highlighting how the Biden Administration is administering and prioritizing job quality through federal investments. The summit featured the release of a “Good Jobs Principles” which identifies specific aspects of what constitutes quality employment. Launched at the start of 2022 and led by DOL, the Good Jobs initiative is a multi-agency effort to promote and improve quality employment opportunities for more workers. More information can be found here. In addition to these efforts, President Biden recently announced a Talent Pipeline Challenge which encourages stakeholders to commit to supporting workforce development efforts, including aspects of these ongoing initiatives. 

FCC Announces New Funding Commitments

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the first wave of funding commitments from its most recent third filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). 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 like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity to serve unmet needs of students, school staff, and library patrons at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Securing initial funding for the ECF was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities during the public health emergency. This new wave of funding includes over $244 million in funds to support 259 schools, 24 libraries and 1 consortium. $5.1 billion in total funding has been approved to date as part of previous ECF funding windows.  

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Senate Confirms OCTAE Leadership and Cardona Testifies on FY23 Budget

Friday, June 10th, 2022

This week the Senate confirmed Dr. Amy Loyd to be the next head of the federal office overseeing Career Technical Education (CTE) while U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified about the Administration’s federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request as his Department convened an event on learner pathways.

Senate Confirms New OCTAE Leader

On Wednesday, June 8,  the Senate voted 57-42 to confirm Dr. Amy Loyd to be the next Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education. In this position Dr. Loyd will lead the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) within the U.S. Department of Education (ED)—a posting that oversees CTE, including the implementation of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). Following the vote, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a statement saying, in part, “I am thrilled by the Senate’s confirmation of Amy Loyd, whose expertise in the intersection between education and workforce development will make her an excellent assistant secretary [of OCTAE].” Following the confirmation vote Wednesday evening, Advance CTE and the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) published a joint statement of support

“As key legislation and funding negotiations with implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development persist in Congress, it is crucial for leaders at the intersection of education and work to have a seat at the table. Dr. Loyd’s confirmation as OCTAE Assistant Secretary provides the field with an exceptional advocate for equitable access to high-quality CTE and an experienced leader with a deep understanding of not only the needs of local, regional and state CTE leaders, but also historically marginalized communities through her work at JFF and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council in Alaska. Her leadership at OCTAE will be instrumental in preparing our nation’s workforce to obtain and advance in high-skill, high-wage and in-demand careers. We congratulate Assistant Secretary Loyd on her confirmation, and look forward to working with her to ensure federal policy fully leverages CTE programs and career pathways as high-quality, equitable avenues for each learner to achieve success in the jobs of the future.”

Advance CTE looks forward to working with Assistant Secretary Loyd in this capacity to advance the organization’s federal policy priorities and ensure strong CTE leadership within ED moving forward.   

Cardona Testifies on Budget as FY23 Funding Efforts Move Forward

On Tuesday, June 7, the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to testify about the Administration’s fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education. The hearing focused on a wide range of issues, including CTE which was touched on by both Senators Braun (R-IN) and Baldwin (D-WI) during questioning. Sen. Baldwin in particular noted that the Administration’s proposed “career connected high schools” initiative would serve only a small subset of communities throughout the nation and asked how ED planned to ensure that support for high-quality CTE programs would be made available to a greater number of states by supplementing, rather than supplanting, existing federal support for CTE. Cardona answered, in part, that ED plans to “. . . continue to advocate and find ways to support [CTE] programs and find ways to make whatever new money is available eligible to those who are already doing this work.” An archived webcast of the hearing, including Secretary Cardona’s testimony, can be accessed here

In other FY23 funding news, Sens. Blumenthal (D-CT), Baldwin (D-WI), and Kaine (D-VA) recently led a Dear Colleague letter in support of robust funding for Perkins V’s basic state grant program. This letter garnered the support of 38 Senators and was shared with Senate appropriations leadership as the FY23 funding process gets underway in the chamber. Meanwhile, lawmakers in the House advanced a key procedural measure this week to begin debate on the 12 individual appropriations bills that compose the federal discretionary budget. This measure sets an overall $1.6 trillion budget limit for FY23—the same amount that was requested in President Biden’s most recent budget request—which will allow appropriators to begin to allocate this proposed amount among forthcoming spending bills. Advance CTE expects this work to begin later this month, likely beginning next week, ahead of the July 4th Congressional recess. As these efforts get underway, we will continue to advocate for a robust investment in Perkins V’s basic state grant program to meet the significant funding needs of the CTE community. 

Career Connected Learning Event 

Last week, June 1, ED convened a virtual event with U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to discuss the Department’s new “career connected high schools” initiative proposed as part of the Administration’s FY23 budget request. The event also featured remarks from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, who shared  the Administration’s wider career connected learning strategy moving forward which will focus on five core pillars: 

  1. An overarching belief that every student should have a pathway to college and the preparation they need to get a head start while still in high school;
  2. Work-based learning to help students gain real-world knowledge, skills, exposure, and learning experience they’ll need to enter and succeed in careers; 
  3. Industry credentials to help students make progress to earning in-demand, industry-recognized credentials that can give them a leg up in today’s workforce and launch careers more quickly; 
  4. College and career advising and navigation to equip students with better information to make thoughtful decisions and lay groundwork for what comes after high school; and
  5. Systems, strategies, and capacity building to create a system that eliminates transition barriers and creates new capacities to support student success. 

An archive of the event, including additional information, can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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