Posts Tagged ‘Federal Policy’

Equip, Empower, Elevate: Advance CTE’s 2021 Annual Report

Thursday, April 7th, 2022

In June 2021, the Advance CTE and The Center to Advance CTE’s Boards of Directors unanimously approved a new three-year strategic plan with three key strategic priorities — to EQUIP Advance CTE to lead with a focus on quality and equity, EMPOWER members to realize the CTE Without Limits vision, and ELEVATE high-quality and equitable CTE.

As we reflect on 2021, we are excited to share the collective progress we made towards accomplishing these strategic priorities. In 2021, Advance CTE and its members: 

Looking ahead to 2022:

View Advance CTE’s 2021 Annual Report: careertech.org/who-we-are 

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director 

By admin in Advance CTE Announcements
Tags: , , , ,

Legislative Update: FY22 Omnibus Signed Into Law

Friday, March 18th, 2022

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

President Biden Signs FY22 Omnibus Into Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

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

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Legislation
Tags: , , , , ,

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

Friday, March 11th, 2022

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

House Passes FY22 Omnibus Spending Legislation With CTE Funding Increase

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

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

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

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

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

Lend Your Support to Pell Grant Modernization 

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

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

DOL and DOT Sign MOU 

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

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

DOL Grant Opportunities

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

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By admin in Legislation
Tags: , , , ,

Legislative Update: Advance CTE and ACTE Host Congressional CTE Month Briefing 

Friday, February 18th, 2022

This week the Advance CTE and ACTE co-hosted a Congressional briefing with Career Technical Student Organizations, while over two-thirds of the Senate supported a resolution designating February as Career Technical Education (CTE) month. The Senate HELP Committee also held a briefing exploring issues impacting workforce development while lawmakers worked to extend current funding levels through mid-March. In addition, the FCC announced the disbursement of additional connectivity funding while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) made important updates to its College Scorecard.

Advance CTE and ACTE Host Congressional CTE Month Briefing 

On Tuesday, February 15, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) hosted a bicameral Congressional briefing featuring learners from several Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs): 

Moderated by Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green, the briefing highlighted the value of CTE and elevated CTSO learner experiences from both K-12 and postsecondary perspectives. The event also featured remarks from CTE Caucus Co-chairs Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN). During Rep. Langevin’s opening comments, the long-time House CTE Caucus co-chair noted, in part, that “A dependable, skilled, and prepared workforce is more critical to our economy than ever, and CTE lays the foundation for students to succeed both now and in the future.” Sen. Young emphasized his ambitions to grow CTE opportunities throughout the nation by co-chairing the Senate CTE Caucus noting that, “3 of 5 jobs in Indiana require more than a high-school diploma but less than a four year degree. More than half of workers in the state do not yet have this level of education.”

Following these remarks from congressional CTE champions, Green posed a series of questions to the CTSO student panel. For Deddens, the FCCLA First Vice President noted that “. . . being a national officer has allowed me to advocate for change in community and state and meet people of diverse backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. Being in CTSOs opens these lines of communication.” National TSA President Rangu noted the impact her first national TSA convention had on her, noting “It was empowering for me to see someone that looked like me [be a national leader] so I felt confident to step into that position and serve as a role model for others.” Tyagi, HOSA’s International President Elect, emphasized the importance of his mentors noting “…[they]  instilled the importance of giving back to communities to secure a future of health that has no boundaries and will take care of every individual.” DECA Collegiate President Spohn emphasized how CTE was “. . . the first time I was in a classroom where what I was being taught was applicable to what I wanted to do with my life and career.”

Senate Passes CTE Month Resolution With Overwhelming Bipartisan Support

In the evening following the CTSO panel, the Senate considered a bipartisan resolution designating February as CTE Month. The Senate unanimously passed this resolution without objection which garnered the support of over two-thirds of the Senate with 68 total co-sponsors. In a speech just before the resolution’s passage Senator Kaine (D-VA), the lead sponsor of the resolution remarked , “By formally recognizing CTE Month through this resolution, we hope to bring greater awareness to improving access to high-quality career and technical education for millions of America’s students and our Nation’s ongoing economic competitiveness.” The House recently introduced a similar resolution and is in the process of recruiting additional co-sponsors. Be sure to encourage your Member of Congress to support this resolution by the end of the month by clicking here

Senate HELP Committee Holds Workforce Development Hearing 

On Tuesday, February 15, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing to examine workforce development policies and related strategies collectively aimed at helping workers find and obtain family sustaining employment. The hearing focused particularly on individuals with barriers to employment and the value and impact wraparound support services–like childcare, transportation, and career navigation supports–have in helping workers overcome these existing challenges. 

During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) highlighted his and Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) ongoing sponsorship of the JOBS Act– legislation that, if enacted, would provide Pell Grants for high-quality, shorter-term training programs at postsecondary institutions to more effectively support workers and learners. Advance CTE has long supported this legislation and continues to call for its enactment by Congress this year. A video archive of the hearing, including related written testimony, can be found here.  

Congress Passes FY22 Funding Extension Through Mid-March 

The formal start of the current federal fiscal year 2022 (FY22) began on October 1, 2021. Since that time, lawmakers in Congress have been unable to come to agreement on full-year funding for the current 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22). Congress has passed a series of short-term funding measures—known as a continuing resolution (CR)—to extend current FY21 funding levels through FY22. To date, these actions have averted a federal government shutdown and lapse in appropriations for laws like Perkins V. However, the most recent of these CRs is set to expire February 18, 2022. 

Last week, lawmakers in the House passed another CR to extend current funding levels, yet again, for federal operations and programs through March 11. This measure passed the chamber by a margin of 272-162 and is intended to provide lawmakers additional time to work out a full-year funding agreement for FY22. Late last night, the Senate followed suit passing the legislation by a margin of 65-27. Focus now turns back to Congressional appropriators who are reportedly working to finalize full-year funding for programs like Perkins V’s basic state grant program. As these efforts unfold, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a comprehensive FY22 funding bill and a robust investment for the CTE. 

ED Makes Updates to College Scorecard

Last week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced several enhancements to the College Scorecard broadly aimed at making it more useful for prospective learners and their families. Among the changes made is a new earnings threshold metric, which shows the percentage of former students whose earnings exceed those of the average high school graduate. This measure is intended to demonstrate a return on investment for entering postsecondary education. A similar measure is currently being considered as part of forthcoming changes to “gainful employment” rules which ED is currently negotiating with stakeholders. A recent examination of these updated College Scorecard data by Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce found that more than half of students at roughly 30 percent of postsecondary institutions earn less than a high school graduate after 10 years. 

FCC Announces Ninth Wave of Emergency Connectivity Fund Commitments

Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a ninth wave of funding commitments totaling over $125 million as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). The $7.2 billion ECF program was authorized as part of the American Rescue Plan 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 needs of students, school staff, and library patrons at home during the ongoing pandemic. Securing initial funding for the ECF was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This round of commitments will support 270,00 students by providing funding to over 340 schools, 20 libraries, and 6 consortia who are set to receive 330,000 connected devices and over 39,000 broadband connections. More on the announcement can be found here

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Legislation
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: Congress Returns With Funding Deadline Looming

Friday, January 7th, 2022

The Senate returned to a snow-covered Capitol Hill this week, while the House is due to return next week. By mid next month, lawmakers must once again act on FY22 appropriations along with a slew of other agenda items for 2022. In addition, federal agencies have unveiled new broadband connectivity efforts, updated equity requirements for educational aid provided last year, and sought to address bus driver shortages plaguing school districts across the nation.

Congress Returns With Funding Deadline Looming

Earlier this week, the Senate formally reconvened to begin the second session of the 117th Congress. The House is scheduled to follow suit next Monday, January 10. As lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week and next, they will be confronted with a number of important agenda items, including determining a path forward for Democrats’ domestic spending package, known as the Build Back Better Act (BBBA). However, first among these is the fast-approaching date of February 18, which is when funding for the current 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22) is set to expire. Last year, Congress enacted a short-term extension of FY21 funding levels to keep the federal government open and related federal programs funded. This extension was intended to provide lawmakers additional time to find agreement on a full-year FY22 funding bill, which would last through September 30 of this year. As these efforts get underway, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the significant funding needs of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. 

FCC Launches New Connectivity Program and Grants New Waiver Flexibilities

On December 31, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially launched the Affordable Connectivity Program—an initiative authorized by the recently enacted bipartisan infrastructure legislation (known also as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act). The program allots $14.2 billion in supplementary funding for eligible individuals to acquire subsidies for internet service bills and one-time discounts for certain internet capable devices. More on the announcement can be found here.

In addition to these efforts, the FCC also issued an order on Tuesday, responding to seven requests to waive the Emergency Connectivity Fund’s (ECF) $400 cap for the purchasing of connected devices. The $7.2 billion ECF program was authorized as part of the American Rescue Plan and was a key Advance CTE legislative priority to help respond to the “homework gap.” The ECF 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 ongoing pandemic. This week’s order granted five out of the seven requested waivers capping the allowable cost of these devices. 

ED Unveils New Proposed MOEq Requirements

On Monday,  the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published updates to requirements for states and local school districts regarding the implementation of “Maintenance of Equity” (MOEq) provisions contained in the American Rescue Plan (ARP). This announcement follows earlier guidance from USED on this topic. Published in the Federal Register, the proposal details a series of new reporting requirements that states and school districts would need to complete by December 31, 2022. The Department is seeking feedback from the public on this proposal and comments are due to the Department by February 2, 2022. Additional information on the announcement can be found here.

School Bus Driver Certification Waivers Announced

Also on Tuesday, ED and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a series of actions to address the nation’s ongoing shortage of school bus drivers. Among these planned responses, ED and USDOT jointly committed to waiving certain requirements from commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to reduce the entry requirements to train new bus drivers. The waiver took effect Monday, January 3, and is set to expire March 31 of this year. Bus operators receiving a CDL under this temporary waiver will only be permitted to work within a single state. More information regarding this announcement can be found here.

ED Approves Last Round of State ARP Plans

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), passed last spring, authorized $122 billion in additional pandemic aid funding to be disbursed to K-12 schools over the last year. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) distributed two-thirds of this funding to states via a formula detailed in the legislation during 2021. However, ED held back the remaining third of these funds until states and territories submitted plans detailing how they would make use of these resources to support students as they recover from the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last few weeks in December, the Department approved the remaining state ARP plans that were awaiting review by ED, including those for Florida, Mississippi, and Vermont. All state ARP plans, including highlights and related press releases, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in COVID-19 and CTE, Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Advance CTE 2021 Fall Meeting Staff Reflections

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

On October 27 and 28, over 270 state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders gathered for Advance CTE’s 2021 Fall Meeting. Through timely plenary discussions, breakout and networking sessions, members and supporters were able to reflect on the transformations of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, gain knowledge on the latest research and promising practices in states, and create community by building networks with leaders in similar roles. 

Advance CTE staff departed the meeting feeling energized and excited about the many ways our members are going above and beyond to advance the event theme, “Meeting CTE’s Moment”. This post shares top outcomes of Fall Meeting with reflections from Advance CTE staff. 

1. Highlighting High-Quality, Equitable State Practices: Speakers from 22 states and 19 national organizations highlighted innovative state practices, and more importantly provided tangible lessons learned and first steps for leaders to implement the initiatives in their own state. 

“The amazing work being shared by CTE leaders across the country was truly inspiring. The statewide mentorship program and New Teacher Institute in Missouri are best practices models for the nation to emulate. Allowing Local Education Agencies (LEA) to serve as an Educator Preparation Program (EPP) is an outstanding example of out-of-the-box thinking. Despite the crippling disparity in pay compared to the surrounding states, the program has yielded high retention rates by providing new teachers with the supports necessary to be effective practitioners. The jewel of the Fall Meeting, in my opinion, was South Carolina’s presentation on the combined efforts between the state’s CTE and Special Education departments to provide access to high-quality programs of study. The innovative process of evaluating the enrollment and performance of students with disabilities by specific disabilities is a model for developing equitable systems for all learners. I’m excited to see the strategies for improving academic success developed from the analysis and I hope the methodology becomes a national trend.” – Dr. Kevin Johnson, Sr., Senior Advisor

“One of my favorite parts of the Fall Meeting was the opportunity state leaders had to share challenges they were facing with top of mind topics and directly problem-solve with national CTE leaders. In a breakout session sharing the latest research on employer engagement, Director of Public Policy James Redstone from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) offered advice to states on how to structure programs and outreach to better meet employer needs. In a session on connecting Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and CTE, renowned national SEL leader Dr. Scott Solberg was able to share best practices and common challenges gained from a network of over 20 states led by Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Despite limits to capacity, our members are always so eager to keep innovating. Hearing lessons learned in states from a national perspective is so valuable in order to make the most of the resources and take the work on these topics and more to the next level.” – Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate, Communications and State Engagement

2. Elevating Learner Voice and Learner-Center Systems: Fall Meeting featured a dedicated    series of breakout sessions focused on elevating high-quality examples of national tool and state initiatives that centered learners in policy and practice. Sessions on Advance CTE’s recently released learner voice toolkit  and social capital featured CTE learners.

“The 2021 Fall Meeting intentionally focused on leveraging the learner voice within state CTE decisionmaking. I was thrilled to witness Advance CTE being joined by two esteemed learners over the two-day meeting: Autumn Steffens and Daraja Brown. Secondary learner Autumn shared her hopes for future learner engagement, “It makes me feel seen as a learner and will help with my decisionmaking in the future.” Postsecondary learner Daraja shared how she has leveraged her social capital to advance through career pathways, “It is important for me to find the different professionals, teacher and mentors that I connect with on a personal level…someone that is in my corner and cares about me and my professional development.” Ultimately, it is important that state and local CTE leaders with the ability to influence CTE policy and programming leverage stakeholders from all levels, including learners. By these actions, state and local CTE leaders are taking every opportunity to advance CTE, particularly under the new shared vision, to ensure each learner achieves career success.” – Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate, Digital Media

“Beyond reconnecting with so many familiar faces, I always love the opportunity to hear from national researchers and partners about exciting or important work in the field, especially those that highlight inequities or illustrate how to better leverage the work we all do to support all learners. Timely research from Strada Education Network and the Urban Institute really demonstrated for me the importance of reaching out to learners at the margins of education, whether they are learners disrupted by the pandemic or learners who don’t have access to high quality postsecondary CTE due to gaps in technology access. At the same time, our members bring these learners to the forefront and are working to design CTE programs that are high-quality and equitable. I always leave our meetings excited about the future of CTE!” – Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate 

3. Building Community: Fall Meeting not only provided an engaging chat feature where attendees routinely shared ideas and celebrated their peers, but also featured two role-alike sessions where leaders networked by professional role, identity and stakeholder level. For the first time, leaders of color also had a dedicated space to connect.

“Advance CTE members are no strangers to virtual meetings, and yet no one felt like strangers to each other. The sense of community and camaraderie was apparent via warm “good to see you” chats and among presenters who were meeting for the first time or reconvening for the hundredth time in a breakout session. We know that members have missed being in person together, but I find encouragement and meaning in the Fall Meeting as a culmination of building a virtual community over the past two years.” – Sara Gassman, Senior Associate, Member Engagement & Professional Learning

“The highlight for me was watching our members shout out each other and other members of their team for their incredible work to advance high-quality and equitable CTE! It was heartening and refreshing to see so many old and new colleagues and peers recognize their fierce commitment to CTE and innovative practices for a wide array of policies, such as establishing standing up new advisement systems, expanding equitable early postsecondary opportunities, building local capacity for identifying and closing opportunities gaps, and recruiting and retaining a more diverse CTE workforce, to name a few! Our members are doing amazing work and I love seeing that work recognized and celebrated by their peers across the country.” – Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director 

4. Advancing CTE Without Limits and Exploring the Future of CTE: Fall Meeting was grounded in the five principles that comprise Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits), and each series of breakout sessions sought to challenge the limits of state leaders to transform systems so that each learner can achieve success in the career of their choice. 

“Just seven months after CTE Without Limits was released, it was incredible to see how state CTE leaders are thinking about operationalizing the principles. I had the privilege of listening in on Lisa Stoner-Torbert’s session on Delaware’s PIPEline for career success program for learners with disabilities, which demonstrates how flexible career pathways, aligned funding and cross-sector partnerships can provide historically marginalized learners the means to succeed in their chosen career pathways.” – Austin Estes, Data & Research Manager

“Another standout moment was during the Ensuring Access to CTE for All Learners Through Equitable Recruitment and Admissions Requirements session. The speaker, Ms. Tiara Booker-Dwyer, Assistant State Superintendent, Maryland State Department of Education, so eloquently shared the importance of diversity in advancing our vision for CTE through a visual “band” analogy. She explained the need to have “all instruments” represented in order to produce great music and how the lottery system in their state was not allowing for “all instruments” to have a chance to be part of the band. Her example provided the why behind the work as she shared policy and practices their state edited to create more equitable access to programs. The co-presenters for the session from the state of Massachusetts’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner and Elizabeth Bennett, Associate Commissioner of CCTE, also incorporated CTE Without Limits in their concrete examples of how they have revised state policy and law to create a path for all learners to be recruited and admitted in high-quality CTE programs in their state. 

It was great to hear and learn from state leaders and funders who believe and are invested in the CTE Without Limits vision. State leaders were inspired to innovate, be bold and take action to execute the vision without limits in their respective states.”  – Nithya Govindasamy, Senior Advisor 

5. Connecting Federal Policy to State Action: Fall Meeting attendees had the opportunity to receive updates on the latest federal policies and supports from senior officials at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). 

“The highlight of the Fall Meeting for me was the opportunity to facilitate a discussion with DOL on the lasting effects of the pandemic on the labor force and the future of work. The discussion elevated the necessity for alignment across secondary, postsecondary and the workforce and the opportunity for CTE to bridge that alignment. It was clear that DOL is supportive of the work our members are conducting in all states. and that the administration wants to continue to fund initiatives that support the economic recovery of our nation and challenge our limits on innovative programming and learner engagement in high-quality career pathways.” – Jeran Culina, Senior Policy Associate  

If you were not able to attend the Fall Meeting, don’t worry – Advance CTE’s Spring Meeting is not too far away. Advance CTE is carefully considering the safety and needs of members as we determine the best format and capacity for this event, and more information will be coming soon. In the meantime, visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center to access the reports, resources and tools shared during Fall Meeting. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: Build Back Better Framework Agreement Announced, ED Nominee Update and ECF Funding Requests

Friday, October 29th, 2021

This week Congress took a significant first step in enacting President Biden’s wider domestic policy agenda. Additionally, the Senate advanced a key Biden Administration nominee to oversee Career Technical Education (CTE) policy for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) while work continued to implement broadband connectivity efforts to close the homework gap.  

Build Back Better Framework Agreement Announced

Yesterday, President Biden announced that his administration, and  Democratic congressional leaders had come to an agreement on a $1.75 trillion framework to enact a slew of domestic priorities, including those impacting the CTE community. Following this announcement, the House Rules Committee held a hearing to begin formal consideration of the proposed Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376). While the legislation must still move forward via the Congressional budget reconciliation process—a maneuver that allows certain spending legislation to be passed by simple majorities in both legislative chambers—this announcement and related introduction of legislative text marks a significant step forward in Congressional Democrats’ efforts to enact President Biden’s wider domestic agenda. 

If enacted, the proposal would include $600 million for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant formula program. The bill also includes a proposed $100 million for the law’s Innovation and Modernization competitive grant program, $1 billion for apprenticeship programs, $113 million for “Grow Your Own” programs to train teachers in high-needs fields, $4.6 billion for industry and sector partnership grants, along with numerous other investments within the wider workforce development space. The proposed legislation would also include $300 million in additional funding for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)—a key Advance CTE legislative priority to close the homework gap.

Despite this progress, this legislation remains far from being enacted and is still subject to change as lawmakers in Congress continue to debate and negotiate the contents of this package. As this process unfolds, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust investment in CTE and the aforementioned programs via this legislative effort.  

View Advance CTE’s and ACTE’s joint statement on the framework here.

FCC Announces Additional ECF Funding Requests; Biden Administration Nominates New Leadership

Earlier this week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it had received nearly $1.3 billion in requests for funding as part of its second application window for the ECF program. The $7.2 billion ECF program was authorized as part of the American Rescue Plan 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 needs of learners, school staff, and library patrons at home during the ongoing pandemic. This round of funding will provide nearly 2.4 million connected devices to eligible recipients and over 564,000 broadband connections. More details about which schools and libraries will receive funding can be found here.

The day after this announcement, President Biden announced the nomination of  Jessica Rosenworcel to serve as the next commissioner and Chair of the FCC. The Biden Administration also announced that Gigi Sohn has been nominated to serve as another FCC commissioner, likely serving as the administration’s point person on issues pertaining to net neutrality. Senate Democratic leaders are widely expected to move forward with Rosenworcel’s confirmation process relatively soon as this seat must be vacated if she is not confirmed by the end of the year. 

Senate HELP Committee Advances ED Nominees

On Tuesday the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee considered the nominations of several Biden Administration nominees, including two officials to serve in key roles within ED—Sandra Bruce to serve as  the Department’s next Inspector General and Amy Loyd to serve as the next Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Adult, and Technical Education (OCTAE). The committee approved both Loyd’s and Bruce’s nominations, along with five other nominees, via voice vote, advancing both nominees for further consideration by the full Senate chamber some time in the future.

Advance CTE has strongly supported Loyd’s nomination earlier this year and is looking forward to a swift confirmation process to ensure ED has the necessary leadership in place to advocate for high-quality and equitable CTE in the months and years ahead.

 Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Legislation
Tags: , , ,

Legislative Update: Short-term Extension of the Debt Limit, Newly Approved State ARP Plans and ECF Applications

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

Over the past two weeks, Congress approved a short-term extension of the nation’s borrowing authority and made further progress on Fiscal Year 22 (FY22) appropriations. Federal agencies have also advanced efforts to approve new state American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding proposals and distribute additional funding for broadband connectivity efforts. More recently, the Senate has advanced additional U.S. Department of Education (USED) nominees while President Biden issued an Executive Order aimed, in part, at advancing economic and educational opportunities for Black Americans. 

Short-term Debt Limit Deal Enacted 

During the week of October 11, the House formally considered and approved a short-term increase of the nation’s borrowing authority, known as the debt limit. Lawmakers passed this measure along party lines by a margin of 219-206. Following passage, President Biden signed the legislation into law, which provides $480 billion in additional borrowing authority for the U.S. Treasury Department. This extension is estimated to provide sufficient borrowing authority through early December—a time when Congress must also act to pass a full-year funding measure for the current federal fiscal year (FY22) for programs like the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). 

Prior to this vote, however, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent a letter to President Biden making clear that his party will likely filibuster future Congressional efforts to pass a longer-term measure to extend or suspend the current debt limit. 

Make Your Voice Heard

The short-term agreement on the debt limit provides more time to Congressional Democrats who are currently debating the size and scope of a forthcoming domestic spending package, modeled off of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda that could potentially provide $4 billion in additional funding for Perkins V. 

At this stage in the negotiations, it is critical that the Career Technical Education (CTE) community makes its voice heard to ensure a Perkins funding increase is included in a final agreement. Be sure to contact your members of Congress to remind them of the importance of investing in CTE. To do so, click here!  

Senate Release Remaining FY22 Spending Bills 

On October 18, the Senate Appropriations Committee released drafts of the remaining nine FY22 spending bills that had not been considered by the committee. Among these was the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations bill, which provides funding for USED and the related federal programs it oversees. Overall, the proposal would, if enacted, provide $98.4 billion for USED—an increase of $24.9 billion compared to the previous fiscal year. Most of this proposed increase would be devoted to nearly doubling the size of Title I formula funds for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

Significantly, the bill proposes a $50 million increase for the Perkins V basic state grant program. This proposal aligns with House legislation passed earlier this year by the lower chamber which, if enacted, would provide a total increase of roughly $1.385 billion. 

The proposal is not expected, however, to be formally marked up by the Senate. Rather, these bills will be used as the basis to begin bicameral and bipartisan negotiations for full-year FY22 funding—legislation that must be completed by December 3 when current short-term funding is set to expire. As these efforts progress, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust investment in Pekins V’s basic state grant program as part of the wider FY22 process.

FCC Approves Additional Emergency Connectivity Fund Applications

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced $1.1 billion in new commitments as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)’s second wave of funding distribution. The funding will cover 2.4 million devices and 1.9 million broadband connections. The approved projects will benefit learners and staff at 2,471 schools, and the patrons of 205 libraries. The FCC has approved over half of the applications filed during the program’s first application window and it is expected that the remaining qualified applications will be approved in the coming weeks. Securing initial funding for the ECF was a key advocacy priority for Advance CTE, at the start of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, as part of wider efforts to close the ‘homework gap.’ 

USED Approves Four More State ARP Plans 

This past spring, Congressional Democrats passed ARP legislation), which authorized $122 billion in supplementary funding for K-12 school districts. Since that time, USED distributed two-thirds of this funding via formula to help schools and states respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Department, however, held back the remaining third of this funding requiring that states and territories submit plans detailing how these new financial resources would be used to support learners coping with the impacts of the public health crisis and related disruptions to schooling. 

As part of this ongoing effort, USED has been periodically reviewing and approving state ARP plans for this purpose. On October 14, the Department approved four more of these plans for Guam, Maryland, Nebraska, and Virginia. Seven states and Puerto Rico are still awaiting approval from the Department, along with the release of these remaining ARP funds. The current status of all state ARP plans, including highlights of plans approved by USED so far, can be found here

President Biden Issues Executive Order to Advance Educational Equity

On October 19, President Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) creating a new White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans. The order enumerates several actions that the Biden Administration has already taken or plans to take to provide greater economic opportunity for Black families and communities, close educational achievement gaps for Black learners, improve health outcomes for these communities, and outlines a number of steps the administration plans to take regarding criminal justice reform among other elements. Importantly, the EO envisions CTE as being a key way to achieve some of these objectives stating, in part, that it will “[advance] racial equity and economic opportunity by connecting education to labor market needs through programs such as dual enrollment, career and technical education, registered apprenticeships, work-based learning . . .”

The order goes on to note that, “Eliminating these inequities requires expanding access to work-based learning and leadership opportunities, including mentorships, sponsorships, internships, and registered apprenticeships that provide not only career guidance, but also the experience needed to navigate and excel in successful careers.” In addition, the order establishes an interagency governmental working group, inclusive of federal CTE representatives from USED, to support the initiative’s broad remit. A related factsheet outlining this order can be found here

Senate Confirms OCR Leader While Setting Sights on OCTAE Nomination Next Week 

On October 20, Catherine Lhamon was narrowly approved by the Senate to become the next Assistant Secretary for USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The vote was evenly split along partisan lines, requiring a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. Lhamon previously led OCR under President Obama where she oversaw a controversial overhaul of Title IX regulations—a move that has continued to be a primary source of opposition for Republican lawmakers. 

In addition to Lhamon’s confirmation, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to consider the nominations of two other USED officials, including Amy Loyd, to serve as the next Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Adult, and Technical Education (OCTAE) along with Sandra Bruce to be the Department’s next Inspector General next week. Advance CTE has strongly supported Loyd’s nomination and looks forward to a swift confirmation process in the coming weeks and months ahead.   

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By admin in Legislation
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Welcome Allie Pearce to Advance CTE!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

My name is Allie Pearce, and I am so excited to join Advance CTE as the 2021-2022 Graduate Fellow, helping to advance the organization’s federal policy priorities and initiatives. My work will be anchored in the organization’s federal policy agenda, specifically the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). While completing this fellowship, I will also lead work centered on federal stimulus funding and equity-based initiatives. 

I am currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Educational Transformation at Georgetown University, with a concentration in Advocacy and Policy. My experiences allow me to approach Career Technical Education (CTE) from an education policy perspective. While attending Grinnell College in my home state of Iowa, I volunteered on a local school bond campaign and worked as a preschool teaching assistant. From there, I worked for a variety of organizations, including the Learning Policy Institute; the Food Research and Action Center; and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Through these opportunities, I examined issues of equity and access in public education through policy research and advocacy. 

Increasing equity and access to high-quality CTE will be more important than ever as the labor market continues to respond to the persisting skills gap and systemic inequities exacerbated by COVID-19. I am humbled to join Advance CTE at such a critical time, and I look forward to being a part of innovative systemic change.

In my free time I enjoy visiting the national monuments, hiking with my two dogs, checking in virtually with my family back in Iowa and watching women’s college basketball (go Hawkeyes!).

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

By admin in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Legislative Update: Next Steps for Congress to Avoid a Government Shut Down and FCC Grants to Close the Homework Gap

Friday, September 24th, 2021

This week, funding legislation moves through Congress to avoid a government shut down. Read below to learn about the next steps needed, as well as Advance CTE’s support of proposed funding for Career Technical Education (CTE), newly announced awards for exemplary CTE programs and the first wave of grants to close the homework gap. 

Debt Ceilings, Reconciliation, Infrastructure and Avoiding A Government Shut Down

There are a number of related but separate spending measures working their way through Congress, which create for a confusing and volatile federal landscape. 

Advance CTE Joins Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) in Applauding Committee Passage of the Build Back Better Act

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) applauded the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee on passing its portion of the Build Back Better Act, which includes $4 billion in dedicated funding for CTE programs, and nearly $80 billion total in funding for workforce development programs. Advance CTE joined Rep. Krishnamoorthi’s press statement celebrating the robust funding levels for CTE and workforce development programs. Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green shared that “this legislation includes significant, increased funding and new investments that are crucial for states, schools and colleges to deliver high-quality CTE programs that are responsive to the evolving needs of industry and to close skill gaps.” Advance CTE is calling on the Senate to maintain or exceed these levels in the Build Back Better Act. Lend your voice and advocacy of this funding level through ACTE’s advocacy portal

U.S. Department of Education announces Blue Ribbon Schools

U.S. Secretary of Education announced the 325 schools that were selected as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021. The selection is based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among subgroups. Additional criteria were added for this year’s secondary school applicants to describe the “curriculum supports college and career readiness (e.g., dual credit courses, college prep classes, Career Technical Education (CTE), apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship opportunities, industry-recognized credentials). This may also include student leadership, community and civic responsibilities, entrepreneurship skills, or work-based learning opportunities that align with essential or emerging careers.” Check out the database of schools to see if any of your state’s schools that offer exemplary CTE programs were selected for this honor. 

First Round of Emergency Connectivity Fund Grants Announced

Today, the FCC announced an initial wave of $1.2 billion from the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program to support 3,040 schools, 260 libraries, and 24 consortia across all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. “The funding will support 3,081,131 devices and 774,115 broadband connections and help connect over 3.6 million students who, according to their schools, would otherwise lack devices, broadband access, or both.” second application filing window will open on September 28, 2021 and close on October 13, 2021.  During this window, applicants can submit requests for funding for purchases through June 30, 2022 to meet the needs of learners, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to basic educational opportunities and library services.   

Kimberly Green, Executive Director

By admin in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

 

Series

Archives

1