Posts Tagged ‘Education and the Workforce Committee’

Legislative Update: Congress Advances New Legislation While Apprenticeship Regulations Are Unveiled

Friday, December 15th, 2023

This week both the House and Senate considered and advanced several pieces of legislation with implications for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. Elsewhere the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published proposed regulations that would overhaul the existing framework for registered apprenticeship programs and significantly expand the scope of these rules in relation to CTE programs funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V).  

House Education and Workforce Committee Advances WIOA Reauthorization

This week the House Education and Workforce (E&W) Committee marked up and advanced H.R. 6655, A Stronger Workforce for America Act (ASWA). The legislation would reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was last updated in 2014. Notably for the CTE community, the legislation proposes significant changes to youth funding authorized by the legislation, including changes to the underlying definition for eligible youth populations that would allow for greater coordination and alignment with CTE programs. ASWA would also encourage greater local alignment of CTE programs of study and career pathways programs. The legislation would also codify the Workforce Data Quality Initiative and the Strengthening Community College Workforce Development Grant program– two key Advance CTE WIOA priorities– along with a host of other proposed changes to current law. However, Advance CTE is still analyzing additional elements of the legislation that were less encouraging and plans to issue a more comprehensive response regarding the legislation shortly. 

The bipartisan legislation was advanced out of the E&W Committee on Tuesday by a margin of 44-1. The proposal is expected to be further considered by the full House of Representatives sometime next year when Congress returns from its holiday recess. 

House Leaders Markup New Workforce Pell Proposal 

As shared previously, Reps. Stefanik (R-NY) and DeSaulnier (D-CA), along with House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Foxx (R-NC) and Ranking Member Scott (D-VA), recently introduced H.R. 6586, the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act (BWPA) last week. The bipartisan legislation is a compromise between previously introduced legislation sponsored by the E&W Committee Chair and Ranking Member earlier this Congress. The expansion of Pell eligibility for high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs has been a longtime priority of Advance CTE

Notably, the legislation was amended during markup in several ways, including a new provision requiring coordination with state Perkins eligible agencies in determining programmatic alignment to high-skill, high-wage or in-demand occupations and sectors. The BWPA also contains a slew of new eligibility criteria that would be overseen and implemented by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), state workforce development boards and higher education accreditation agencies. Advance CTE and the Association for Career Technical Education issued a letter in response to the BWPA shortly after its passage out of the E&W Committee on a margin of 37-8. Advance CTE is encouraged by this latest development and looks forward to working with Congress as this issue moves forward in the legislative process. 

HELP Committee Clears Bipartisan Education Sciences Reform Act Reauthorization

Last week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee formally introduced the Advancing Research in Education Act (AREA) — bipartisan legislation that would reauthorize and update the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA). This legislation makes important updates to ESRA, including significant reforms to the State Longitudinal Data System Grant program and broader education research and technical assistance functions overseen by the ED. As shared previously, Advance CTE has strongly supported many of the core components of AREA, particularly provisions that complement and relate to CTE, and has formally supported the legislation ahead of a scheduled markup this past Tuesday. The HELP Committee subsequently advanced this proposal on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, 20-1. AREA now moves to the full Senate for further consideration by the upper chamber. 

DOL Proposes Major Changes to Apprenticeship Regulations With CTE Implications 

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes significant and wide-ranging changes to the regulatory framework for registered apprenticeship programs. Of note for the CTE community, the NPRM suggests a significant expansion of the regulatory requirements related to a new program model DOL is currently referencing as “CTE Apprenticeships.” The NPRM includes a number of other new regulatory requirements that would relate to CTE programs funded by Perkins V. Advance CTE is in the process of analyzing this proposal and will have more to share on this NPRM soon. A 60-day comment period will begin when the draft proposal is formally published to the Federal Register. In addition, DOL has scheduled a webinar in early January to provide an overview of the NPRM. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Bipartisan Spotlight on CTE This Week

Friday, February 10th, 2023

This week the President delivered the annual State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress, while the House held its first hearing of the new 118th Congress. Elsewhere Career Technical Education (CTE) champions in the House introduced a resolution designating February as CTE Month while lawmakers reintroduced legislation that would greatly expand postsecondary CTE opportunities for learners across the country. 

President Biden Delivers State of the Union 

On Tuesday, February 7, President Joe Biden delivered the annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. The speech focused on the President and Congress’ accomplishments over the last two years, including significant investments in advanced manufacturing, the nation’s infrastructure, and other domestic priorities, while also reiterating a need to “finish the job” in the 118th Congress—a recurrent theme that the President returned to throughout the evening. Ahead of the address to the joint session of Congress, First Lady Jill Biden’s guests included Kate Foley– a 10th grade computer-integrated manufacturing student who the First Lady had met last year during a visit she and other Administration officials made to CTE programs in Rolling Meadows High School. In addition, Rep. Glusenkamp Perez (D-WA) brought Cory Toppa, a construction, engineering design, and manufacturing teacher at Kalama High School and the director of CTE for the Kalama school district as her guest during the speech. 

During the speech, the President touched on a wide range of issues, including universal preschool for three- and four-year olds, raising teacher salaries, and calling on Congress to provide greater resources for digital connectivity. However, the President consistently highlighted the centrality of education and workforce development as part of America’s ability to compete within the wider global economy. Notably, the President touched on Career Technical Education (CTE) saying, in part, “Let’s finish the job, and connect students to career opportunities starting in high school, provide access to two years of community college, the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree. Let’s offer every American a path to a good career, whether they go to college or not.” 

Reinforcing the Biden Administration’s sincere and growing interest in CTE, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited high school career academies in Omaha, Nebraska the following day to discuss students’ experiences in these programs. Advance CTE was proud to honor this program as an Excellence in Action awardee in 2015, highlighting the program’s exemplary performance which was on full display as part of the Secretary’s visit this week. As shared by the U.S. Department of Education (USED), the visit was also intended to reinforce Secretary Cardona’s recent speech outlining his Department’s priorities for the coming year, which include a focus on strengthening CTE pathways for students. A full transcript of the President’s State of the Union Address can be accessed here

House Education Committee Hosts First Hearing

The newly renamed House Education and the Workforce Committee, Chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) held its first hearing this week titled, “American Education in Crisis.” Witnesses included Virginia Gentles, Director of the Education Freedom Center at the Independent Women’s Forum, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Scott Pulsipher, the President of Western Governors University, and Monty Sullivan, the President of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. The wide-ranging hearing was intended to highlight aspects of the committee’s likely agenda over the next year ranging from K-12 and postsecondary education to workforce development. During the hearing several CTE topics were discussed at length, including the need to greatly expand postsecondary CTE opportunities by enacting legislation that would expand federal Pell grant eligibility for high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs. 

Hearing witnesses, along with an array of committee members on both sides of the aisle, also voiced support for these much needed reforms to the nation’s postsecondary education system. “The single most important step Congress can take in helping address our nation’s skill shortage is to immediately authorize the use of Pell Grants for workforce programs. . . [I] strongly urge Congress to come to consensus on legislation that, when passed, will enable a significant increase in the number of students across the country who will have a new opportunity in how they improve their skills”  Monty Sullivan shared as part of his testimony. 

Beyond short-term Pell reform, the hearing also touched on the need to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Higher Education Act (HEA), most notably by more tightly aligning these federal investments in future legislative updates. In particular, witnesses spoke about the importance of wrap-around services and developing integrated systems of education and workforce development that more effectively ensured learner and worker success. Witnesses also voiced strong support for expanding work-based learning opportunities, particularly  apprenticeship programs and called for a broadening of federal support for multiple postsecondary pathways that lead to opportunity. An archived webcast of the more than three hour hearing can be found here.  

House Lawmakers Reintroduce the JOBS Act

Late last week, a group of bipartisan lawmakers including Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), Michael Turner (R-OH), and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), reintroduced the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (H.R. 793)– legislation that would expand federal Pell grant funding eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs that meet certain criteria. The bill is the House companion to legislation also reintroduced in the Senate last week, which is currently supported by just under half of the upper chamber. Advance CTE is proud to support this legislation and encourages members to reach out to their Representatives to encourage them to co-sponsor the legislation this Congress. More on the reintroduction can be found here

House CTE Caucus Introduces CTE Month Resolution 

On Wednesday, February 8th, House CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced a resolution recognizing and designating February as National CTE Month (H. Res. 110). The resolution was co-sponsored by a broad bipartisan coalition of 71 Representatives– a new high watermark of support for the annual resolution. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) were joined by more than 50 other organizations who also supported the introduction of the resolution this week. 

“We are proud to support the 2023 Career Technical Education (CTE) Month resolution as a celebration and recognition of the impact CTE has for learners as they explore and find their career passions, secure meaningful credentials of value aligned to in-demand careers and provide employers with a highly skilled workforce that is responsive to rapidly evolving industry needs,” said Advance CTE Executive Director Kimberly Green. More on the introduction can be found here

Senate HELP Organizes

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee– the entity with responsibility over CTE policymaking in the Senate– met for the first time this week to formally organize and adopt rules for the Congress. New HELP Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) emphasized his desire to focus on a wide range of healthcare issues, including a focus on the workforce shortages within the sector. Chair Sanders noted that “We desperately need plumbers and carpenters and electricians and yet we don’t have the training capabilities of doing that.” He highlighted apprenticeships as a potential strategy to address these needs and emphasized that he hoped to work together with Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and his colleagues on these issues in the coming Congress. 

During remarks,  Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) emphasized his desire to reauthorize WIOA and HEA, while also identifying reducing the costs of postsecondary education as being another potential area of bipartisan consensus he hoped to pursue over the next two years. The brief organizational meeting also featured high-level remarks from other committee members who highlighted their priorities for the coming Congress. As part of the meeting HELP members adopted rules for the committee unanimously, as well as a budget, before adjourning. An archived webcast of the meeting can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: 118th Congress Begins to Take Shape

Friday, January 13th, 2023

Last weekend, the House formally elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be the next Speaker of the House. Earlier this week lawmakers reconvened to adopt a new rules package which determines how the Chamber will operate over the course of the 118th Congress. Elsewhere new leadership for committees overseeing education and workforce development policy have been announced. 

McCarthy Elected Speaker of the House

Early Saturday morning Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was formally elected Speaker of the House after a tumultuous week which saw 14 failed vote attempts to elect a new leader for the chamber. Throughout last week, a small group of House Republicans withheld their support for McCarthy’s speakership bid leading to the week-long impasse. After providing a series of concessions to this group of lawmakers, some of which still have not yet been made public, McCarthy was able to garner most of this group’s support while others voted present, reducing the threshold he needed to win the Speaker’s gavel. Some of these concessions could impact Career and Technical Education (CTE) funding for the coming year, including a promise McCarthy gave to these members to only advance appropriations legislation later this year at or below federal fiscal year 2022 (FY22) funding levels. With a narrow four-seat majority in the House, and with all Democratic lawmakers voting for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), this combination of handshake agreements and concessions provided the support McCarthy needed to secure the Speakership—a critically important leadership position that he has sought since 2015. 

House Adopts New Rules Package

With Speaker McCarthy formally elected, the House recessed until this past Monday where they reconvened and passed a new rules package. These rules outline how the House will operate throughout the 118th Congress, including how legislation will be developed and amended. The package also includes a number of concessions the newly elected Speaker made that are intended to empower rank and file lawmakers at the expense of the Speaker’s office. These concessions include a so-called “motion to vacate” rule, which would allow a single lawmaker to call a vote of no confidence in Speaker McCarthy during this Congress among a slew of other similar rules changes. Additionally, there are new rules that could impact how funding is or is not provided to programs that have authorization periods that have expired. Other new rules in the package would narrow the scope that bills may have to a single subject, making it more difficult to move larger pieces of legislation in the coming year. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze these new rules and their potential impact on CTE funding and policymaking in the new Congress.  

Foxx Selected to Lead Education and Workforce Committee

Following Speaker McCarthy’s election and the adoption of the rules package for the House, the Republican Steering Committee met this week to determine leadership posts for committees. Earlier in the week, the Steering Committee announced that it had selected Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to become Chair of the newly rebranded Education and Workforce Committee—the entity responsible for education and workforce development policymaking in the House. Chair Foxx won this position over Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) who also sought this role. In order to regain the Chair position, Foxx required a waiver from the Steering Committee due to existing Republican Caucus rules that bar committee leaders from serving in leadership posts for three consecutive terms. 

“Conducting vigorous and sustained oversight of the federal government, especially the Departments of Education and Labor, will be among my top priorities,” she said after the announcement of her selection to lead the committee. In addition to oversight of the Biden Administration, Chair Foxx has shared elsewhere that she plans to push for an overhaul of federal student aid programs, similar to what she and other Republicans on the committee proposed last summer, among a number of other priorities. On the Democratic side of the aisle Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), the former chair of the committee, is expected to take on the Ranking Member role to lead Democrats on the committee in minority in the new Congress. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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Perkins Reauthorization Top of Mind for House Reps After Hearing on CTE

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Earlier this morning, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education held a hearing on secondary CTE, kicking off renewed efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). A recording of the hearing is available here.

Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) in his opening remarks shared examples of CTE’s impact in his home district and charged his fellow committee members to complete its work to reauthorize the Perkins Act, which hasn’t been updated in more than ten years. He recognized the committee’s success in the previous session, during which the committee unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that later sailed through the House with a 405-5 vote. That bill was stalled in the Senate, and the Committee is expected to introduce a similar piece of legislation in the coming weeks.

In his opening statement, Ranking Member, Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) stated “ Reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act presents this Committee with an opportunity to ensure that CTE programs are of high quality, emphasize equity, align with academic and labor market demands, and provide opportunities for all students – especially those historically underserved – to receive credentials that lead to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career opportunities.”

Witnesses representing both workforce and education organizations praised the important role Career Technical Education (CTE) has played in increasing access to opportunity and closing the skills gap and urged the committee to renew support for CTE programs nationwide.

Mr. Glenn Johnson, representing multi-national manufacturing company BASF shared about the educational programs and supports his organization provides in various communities across the states, but expressed alarm about the growing skills gap and challenges recruiting individuals into the manufacturing sector. According to Mr. Johnson, 11,000 baby boomers turn 70 every day, contributing to the growing need to prepare the future workforce to fill critical jobs.

The conversation in the hearing then turned to two core issues: ensuring all students have access to high-quality CTE and addressing the public stigma that a four-year degree is superior to technical training.

To the former point, Mimi Lufkin of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity urged the committee to focus on underserved students in its reauthorization efforts, specifically to encourage students to pursue nontraditional fields. She shared examples from Douglas County, Oregon and Morgan County, Ohio where efforts to reach nontraditional students led more girls to enroll in a welding program and increased participation of boys in a health science course. Janet Goble, Board member of ACTE and CTE Director in Canyon County, UT, shared a story from her own school district, where a program aimed at introducing middle school girls to non-traditional occupations increased the participation rate of non-traditional high school students from 26 percent to 53 percent.

Finally, Mike Rowe, television personality of “Dirty Jobs” fame and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, argued that participation in CTE would stagnate without a concerted effort to address the stigma around vocational education. He argued that promotion of four-year postsecondary education programs comes at the expense of two-year, technical and apprenticeship opportunities that may better equip students with relevant skills and connect them to a high-wage job.

In the question period, which was well attended by committee members from both the subcommittee and full committee, many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle spoke to the need to change the image of CTE and applauded the witnesses’ inclusion of data in their testimony.

Today’s event comes at a critical point in time, when the Trump administration has signaled potentially dramatic cuts to domestic programs including education. If there is any takeaway from this morning’s hearing however, it is that CTE enjoys broad support, not only from members of Congress in both parties  but also the education and employer community as well.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By admin in Legislation, News
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Congressional Resolution Recognizes Community Colleges

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Last week, Rep. Leonard Boswell (IA) introduced H Res 474, a resolution recognizing “the valuable contributions of community colleges and encouraging local partnerships with such institutions to train and revitalize the United States workforce, inspire entrepreneurship, educate skilled workers and invest in local communities.” The resolution has been referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manger

By admin in Legislation
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Sec. Duncan and House Committee Clash Over NCLB Waivers

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Weeks ago, we reported U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s threats to waive parts of the outdated No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) if Congress does not reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) before the start of the next school year.

Since then, members of Congress have questioned Duncan’s assertion and his right to grant waivers to states in exchange for a commitment to follow initiatives that he champions. Rep. John Kline (MN), Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Rep. Duncan Hunter, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, disapproved of Duncan’s actions and requested more information on Duncan’s plan.

Secretary Duncan provided a response this week. In his letter to Rep. Kline and Rep. Hunter, Duncan explained that any instance of overriding the current system would provide only a temporary fix until the House completes reauthorization of ESEA. Duncan wrote that “I am convinced that current law increasingly is discouraging [states] from implementing important State and locally developed reforms and other innovations to the detriment of students.” He also explained that ESEA was due for reauthorization in 2007, and the Department of Education must move forward with more innovative options for education reform that did not exist at the time that NCLB was enacted.

While Duncan’s letter described his reasons for issuing waivers, he did not provide details on the waiver plan, such as when waivers would be reviewed or enacted. He did mention that state and local input will be considered.

After receiving Duncan’s response, Rep. Kline’s spokesperson stated that “It is disappointing the secretary continues to elude questions about his plan… Instead of touting murky alternatives, the secretary should lend his support to the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s ongoing efforts to advance targeted education legislation.”

Today, the Committee expects to release its third in a series of five bills intended to reauthorize ESEA. Secretary Duncan has already stated disapproval of the third bill.

Read more about the third bill from the House Committee, which aims to provide increased funding flexibility as part of ESEA reauthorization, in tomorrow’s Legislative Update from NASDCTEc.

By admin in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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