Posts Tagged ‘FCC’

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
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: Congress Examines FY23 Budget and Teacher Shortages 

Friday, May 27th, 2022

This week Congress made progress on several U.S. Department of Education (ED) nominations, while also examining ways to address nationwide teacher shortages and ED’s fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request. In addition, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona offered support to a community in Texas in the wake of tragedy while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  distributed additional connectivity funding and ED hosted a summit on mental health. 

Secretary Cardona Issues Statement Regarding the Tragedy in Texas

On Tuesday, May 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a statement in the wake of the tragic shooting that occurred at an Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. He shared, in part, “My heart is aching for all the families in Uvalde, Texas who are living through every parent’s greatest fear and worst nightmare: a shooting in their children’s school . . . My team at the Department of Education is offering every available federal resource—including through our Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence) program and on-the-ground support—to help the families, educators, staff, and greater Robb Elementary School community recover from this trauma and loss.”

House Holds Teacher Shortage Hearing

On Wednesday, May 25, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing examining the persistent issue of educator shortages throughout the nation. Witnesses included representatives from think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Learning Policy Institute, as well as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. Witnesses and lawmakers discussed the causes of teacher shortages and debated best-practice solutions to address them. These strategies included efforts to reduce certification requirements for teachers as one way to reduce barriers to entry into the classroom. As a reminder, Advance CTE recently endorsed the RAISE Act recently– a proposal that would provide tax credits for K-12 instructors– as one way to begin to address these persistent challenges. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here.

Senate Advances ED Nominees

Also on Wednesday, May 25, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held an executive session meeting to consider several Biden Administration nominees. These nominations included LaWanda Toney to be the next Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) as well as Nasser Paydar to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the Department. During the session, Senators advanced each of these nominees out of committee for further consideration by the full chamber in the future. 

In addition to this committee-level activity, the full Senate took an important procedural step to advance Amy Loyd’s nomination to be the next Assistant Secretary for Career, Adult, and Technical Education at ED—an action that implies that Ms. Loyd will likely be confirmed sometime soon.

Cardona Testifies on FY23 Budget

Yesterday, May 26, the House Education and Labor Committee hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona who testified about the Administration’s fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education. As a reminder, the Administration’s FY23 budget was created prior to FY22 funding levels being finalized by Congress. As a consequence, the Biden Administration proposed an “artificial cut” to the Carl D. Perkins Act’s basic state grant program. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) questioned Secretary Cardona about this issue, asking why the Department appeared to propose less funding for this program for the upcoming fiscal year. Secretary Cardona responded, in part, that “. . . we totally support the funding for that . . . in fact we really believe a big part of the work moving forward at the Department of Education is to really engage in career connected high schools and making sure that the through lines between our high schools and two year schools and workforce partners or four year schools is tighter across the country.”  An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here.

ED Hosts Virtual Mental Health Summit

On Monday, May 23, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) hosted a virtual summit titled “From Recovery to Thriving: Supporting Mental Health and Students With Disabilities.” The summit highlighted the Department’s ongoing work to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and shared resources aimed at students to support their mental health. In particular, the event examined ways in which states and local communities can better develop and support more inclusive pathways programs for learners struggling with mental health challenges or disabilities. More information on the summit can be found here

FCC Announces $2.8 billion in New Funding

On Wednesday, May 25, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it had received $2.8 billion in funding requests as part of its third application window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program. Funding for the ECF as part of the American Rescue Plan was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities during the pandemic as a key strategy to help close the “homework gap.” This latest round of funding will support 5,120,453 connected devices and 4,285,794 broadband connections for eligible schools and libraries. However, with only an estimated $1.5 billion remaining in the program the FCC anticipates it will need to prioritize applicants with the greatest need first, particularly those in rural communities. 

June Meeting Series Registration Deadline Extended

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

Be Sure to Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

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

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: House Advances WIOA Reauthorization 

Friday, May 20th, 2022

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

House Advances WIOA Reauthorization Proposal

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

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

House Examines DOL FY23 Budget 

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

DOL Convenes Apprenticeship Advisory Committee 

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

FCC Announces New Funding Commitments

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

Biden Administration Announces Presidential Scholars

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

June Meeting Series 

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

Be Sure to Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

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

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: House to Consider Workforce Legislation Next Week 

Friday, May 13th, 2022

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

House to Consider WIOA Next Week 

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

Education Department Announces Plans to Amend Section 504

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

Biden Administration Promotes Affordable Connectivity Efforts

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

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

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

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

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

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

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: COMPETES Act, ECF Funding and a New Vision for Education

Friday, January 28th, 2022

This week Democratic lawmakers in the House introduced legislation broadly aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the American economy, while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) distributed additional connectivity aid, and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivered a major speech regarding his vision for educational recovery. 

House Leadership Unveil COMPETES Act

Late Tuesday, January 25, Democratic leaders in the House introduced the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act (H.R. 4521)—legislation that is broadly aimed at increasing the global competitiveness of the American economy by making targeted investments in the nation’s technology, research and manufacturing capacity, among other elements. Of note, the legislation includes the House’s proposal to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act (NAA) which, if enacted, would provide significant new resources and direction for the expansion of apprenticeship programs nationwide. Additionally, the legislation proposes to infuse $9 billion into the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program. Finally, the proposal would also create several new competitive grant programs aimed at expanded student access to STEM and computer science courses at the K-12 level. 

A narrower version of this legislation was introduced and passed by the Senate last summer, but the proposal did not advance any further since that time. Should the House pass this bill in its current form, both chambers will need to reconcile significant differences between these proposals. The House Rules Committee is expected to meet next week to craft a rule for the full House to consider, amend and vote on the legislation in the coming weeks. A factsheet for the House bill can be found here and a section-by-section summary can be accessed here

FCC Announces Eighth Wave of ECF Funding

On Tuesday, January 25, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced over $240 million in new funding commitments as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund’s (ECF) eighth round of awards. The funding will support over 600,000 students and provide 683,000 connected devices and 182,000 broadband connections to eligible schools, libraries, states and consortia. Securing initial funding for the ECF as part of the American Rescue Plan was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the organization is continuing to work with other national groups to obtain additional resources to continue the program to help close the “homework gap.” To date, the ECF program has helped over 12 million students nationwide. More information can be found here

Secretary Cardona Lays Out New Vision for Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivered a speech at the U.S. Department of Education’s headquarters on Thursday, January 27, laying out his vision for education as the nation continues to recover from the current pandemic. In his remarks, Secretary Cardona laid out four key priority areas and related actions including: supporting students throughout the pandemic, addressing persistent opportunity and achievement gaps, making postsecondary education more accessible and affordable, and ensuring educational pathways lead to successful careers. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, Secretary Cardona called for the creation of stronger career pathways and for, “Each high school in the country [to] have at least one career counselor oso that every high schooler has great options when they graduate.” More information on the speech can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Brittany Cannady in Legislation
Tags: , , , ,

Legislative Update: Government Shutdown Avoided, New ARP State Plan Approvals and Connectivity Funding

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

This week Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown after passing an additional short-term legislative measure extending current funding levels for federal programs and operations through February 18, 2022. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved more American Rescue Plan (ARP) state plans while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced new connectivity funding. 

House Passes Short-term Funding Measure

Earlier this fall, lawmakers in Congress were unable to come to agreement on full-year funding for the current 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22). As a result, Congress passed a short-term funding measure to continue government operations past the formal start of FY22 on October 1, 2021. This measure was set to expire today, December 3. Lawmakers hoped to come to an agreement on full-year FY22 funding during this period, but up until late last night had been unsuccessful. To avert a government shutdown and lapse in appropriations for laws like the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), lawmakers have been working furiously this week to pass another short-term extension of current federal funding. This measure, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), extends current funding levels for a predetermined amount of time to provide Congress more time to work out a longer-term agreement for FY22. 

Yesterday, December 2, the House passed a CR to extend current funding levels for federal operations and programs through February 18 with these aims in mind. This measure passed the chamber narrowly, mostly along party lines, by a margin of 221-212. Shortly following House passage, the Senate began consideration of the legislation. The Senate quickly took up the measure after the House, working late into Thursday evening to consider and formally approve it by a much wider and bipartisan margin of 69-28. As these efforts on FY22 unfold further, Advance CTE is continuing to champion robust levels of funding for the Perkins V formula state grant program and is urging Congress to provide longer-term certainty regarding federal funding for the remainder of the current fiscal year. 

ED Approves Four More State ARP Plans

Following the ARP passage earlier this spring, ED distributed two-thirds of this funding to states via a prescribed formula. ED held back the remainder of these funds until states, territories, and outlying areas submitted plans detailing how they would make use of these resources to support learners as they recover from the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Over the past two weeks, the Department approved four more of these plans, releasing these additional funds to those states and territories. Those receiving approval this week include American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Washington. Only a handful of states have outstanding ARP plans awaiting departmental approval. The most current status of all state ARP plans, including highlights of plans already approved, can be found here. Additional coverage of how states are making use of these federal aid dollars can be found here.  

FCC Unveils Fifth Round of ECF Dollars

Last week, the FCC announced that it has committed nearly $170 million in new funding as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). The ECF program was first established by ARP and 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 connectivity needs of learners, school staff, and library patrons at home during the coronavirus. —a key Advance CTE advocacy priority. This most recent funding round is expected to support 492 schools, 70 libraries and 10 consortia to receive 380,000 connected devices and over 135,000 broadband connections. More on the announcement can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Brittany Cannady in COVID-19 and CTE
Tags: , , , , , , ,

 

Series

Archives

1