Posts Tagged ‘House Appropriations Committee’

Lawmakers Celebrate CTE Month, Progress on FY24 Remains Uncertain | Legislative Update

Friday, February 16th, 2024

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers in the House and Senate have continued to formally recognize the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE) and celebrated February as CTE Month® in a number of ways. Elsewhere, appropriations leaders continue to work on federal funding measures, Advance CTE endorsed several new pieces of legislation and federal agencies released new equity plans. 

New Challenges Emerge in FY24 Funding Process

The Senate remained in session last weekend to pass a highly anticipated supplemental national security aid package. Following that action, the Senate adjourned and is not expected to return to Capitol Hill until February 26. Meanwhile, the House met for an abbreviated work period this week where Republican lawmakers impeached Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. This action in the House will trigger a trial in the Senate when lawmakers return later this month. Due to Senate rules that require addressing this issue upon their return, this upcoming trial may impact ongoing negotiations, largely occurring behind the scenes, on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) spending, including the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations measure that funds the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other programs administered and overseen by the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL).

At this time, it remains unclear how lawmakers will ultimately move forward with FY24 appropriations legislation beyond the upcoming expiration dates of current funding rapidly approaching on March 1 and March 8. Reportedly, appropriations leaders are currently negotiating potential “policy riders” that some lawmakers are seeking to attach to these funding measures, including Labor-HHS-ED. House lawmakers are currently scheduled to return after a recess period on February 28, leaving only a few days to determine a pathway forward. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE is continuing to advocate for robust funding for Perkins V’s formula grant program.

CTE Month Continues With Co-Chair Appearances and a New Senate Resolution

Yesterday, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) made an appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program to talk about the importance of CTE and the role it plays in the wider economy. The two leaders fielded questions from viewers and spoke at length about their experiences with CTE, the importance of the federal investment made by Perkins V and highlighted the immense value CTE programs provide to learners, especially by providing multiple pathways to postsecondary education, training and careers. These lawmakers also introduced the Counseling for Career Choice Act, bipartisan legislation that would strengthen career counseling services available to K-12 students. Advance CTE was proud to endorse this legislation upon introduction. In addition, House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) provided floor remarks celebrating CTE month and emphasizing the important role CTE programs have in providing learners with valuable and durable skills. 

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate CTE Caucus co-chair Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced and passed a bipartisan resolution recognizing February as CTE month within the chamber. “This month and every month, let’s work to expand access to CTE, including by passing my JOBS Act to allow students to use Pell Grants for job training programs, and build an economy that works for everyone,” Senator Kaine remarked upon its passage. 

Advance CTE applauds all of these lawmakers for their ongoing leadership on this issue and extends our community’s deep appreciation for continuing to elevate and highlight the significant importance of CTE this month and throughout the year.

Bipartisan Childcare CTE Bill Introduced

Earlier this week, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Bonamici introduced the Early Childhood Workforce Advance Act. The legislation would provide new resources for CTE programs and aims to address significant workforce shortages in this critical sector of the economy. “The Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act intentionally leverages CTE programs and ensures that these efforts are connected to ongoing state and local efforts to strengthen early educator workforce pipelines,” Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kate Kreamer shared upon the bill’s introduction. More information on the proposal can be found here.

ED Publishes Updated Equity Action Plan

At the beginning of the week, ED formally released its 2023 update to the Department’s existing “Equity Action Plan,” outlining new commitments to advance equity in education. ED identified five key focus areas: improving college access and completion rates for underserved students; ensuring equitable resources for learning recovery; expanding educational opportunities for justice-impacted individuals to improve outcomes; advancing equity in career and technical education; and increasing mental health resources in underserved communities. In the plan, ED notes that it hopes to improve data transparency with regards to Perkins V data, host a future webinar series on equity in CTE and propose broadened equity indicators as part of its priorities for potential legislative updates to Perkins V in the years ahead. Read the full plan here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Maryland State CTE Director Testifies As Congress Extends FY24 Funding

Friday, January 19th, 2024

This week Richard Kincaid, Maryland’s State Career Technical Education (CTE) Director, testified in the House while Congress passed a much-needed extension of federal funding as negotiations continue on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) appropriations. 

Lawmakers Pass Last-Minute CR

Lawmakers in the House and the Senate continued to negotiate a path forward on FY24 appropriations this week as two funding deadlines drew closer. As shared last week, Congressional leaders and the White House announced a new deal on aggregate spending levels, known as toplines, for the defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) portions of the federal budget. This agreement came after months of unsuccessful negotiations between the chambers since the formal start of FY24 on October 1, 2023. 

A new deal on federal topline spending has been a critical next step in moving forward with the dozen funding measures that compose the federal budget since the start of FY24 last fall. While this is an important next step, current federal funding—extended by two separate continuing resolutions (CRs)— was set to expire today and on February 2. Lawmakers therefore had to act quickly this week to avert a partial government shutdown as these negotiations continued. With a snowstorm hitting Washington, D.C. just before the January 19 deadline lawmakers were able to find consensus this week on another set of CRs that extends federal funding through early March. These measures cleared the Senate first on a 77-18 margin and later in the House, under an expedited legislative process, by a margin of 314-108. Notably, nearly half of the House Republican conference voted against this short-term funding extension.  

The Labor-HHS-ED funding measure, which provides funding for education and workforce development investments like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), is included within a tranche of seven other funding measures that have FY23 funding levels extended through March 8. The remaining four funding bills, which would have expired today, have also been extended through March 1 by this short-term extension. The House is now on recess until January 29 while the Senate remains in session deliberating on federal appropriations and other legislative agenda items.   

As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust and strengthened investment in Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other investments of interest to the wider CTE community. 

Maryland State CTE Director Testifies Before House Lawmakers

Yesterday, January 18, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, led by Reps. Aaron Bean (R-FL) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) held a hearing titled  “Preparing Students for Success in the Skills-Based Economy.” Notably, Richard Kincaid, Senior Executive Director for the Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of College and Career Pathways and a member of Advance CTE, testified at the hearing along with several other witnesses including Kelly Mosley, a local CTE Director in Clay County Florida, along with Danny Corwin, Executive Director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.

Richard’s testimony focused on Maryland’s ongoing efforts to provide pathways to opportunity for all students. Specifically, his remarks highlighted the state’s work to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a multi-billion dollar statewide investment that aims to provide “…all students [with] equitable access to rigorous education that prepares them for college, career and life…” among other aspects of the effort. Richard also highlighted the state’s use of American Rescue Plan funding via the Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) program which has supported a substantial expansion of youth apprenticeship programs in the state. 

More broadly the hearing touched on a number of topics related to secondary CTE, including and especially the need to invest additional resources into these efforts to provide more opportunities for learners. For instance, during her line of questioning, Rep. Bonamici, also the co-chair of the House CTE Caucus and Ranking Member of this subcommittee, highlighted that the federal investment in CTE, made by Perkins, has eroded considerably over the last few decades and asked what additional funding could do for states like Maryland. Kincaid answered, in part,  that “…using Perkins as a lever to reinvest additional funding into these programs would be a game changer for places like Maryland that rely on federal funds to move this agenda forward…” 

Elsewhere, recent research conducted by Advance CTE on secondary CTE financing was also highlighted by witnesses, including Harbor Freight’s Corwin who shared a startling datapoint with lawmakers– funding for CTE represents just three percent of all K-12 spending in the United States. More importantly, without the federal investment made by Perkins V’s basic state grant program, this percentage drops to just one percent of all K-12 spending across the nation, underscoring the enormous importance of strengthening and drastically increasing federal funding for CTE. 

Advance CTE applauds lawmakers in the House for holding this hearing and providing these witnesses an opportunity to highlight how important it is to increase opportunities for learners to engage with high-quality CTE opportunities in their communities. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be accessed here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Lawmakers Announce New Spending Deal

Friday, January 12th, 2024

Over the last few weeks lawmakers have begun to make progress towards agreement on full-year funding for the federal budget. In addition, the House is expected to host a hearing next week examining how to best prepare students for the workforce. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issues new guidance related to pandemic aid funding and proposes new rules for federal grant programs. 

Congressional Leaders Announce FY24 Topline Agreement

Just before returning to Capitol Hill following Congress’ annual holiday recess, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that they had reached agreement on aggregate spending levels, also known as toplines, for defense and non-defense discretionary portions of the federal budget. The agreement largely aligns with the requirements contained in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA)—legislation enacted last year that suspended the nation’s statutory borrowing limit while establishing a budget framework for federal fiscal years 2024 (FY24) and FY25. This agreement also included a “side deal” agreed to by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration to provide approximately $69 billion in additional funding, beyond what was contained in the FRA, to avoid substantial cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs like federal investments in Career Technical Education (CTE).

The agreement is a critical next step in the FY24 budget and appropriations process that has been ongoing since October 1 of last year. Appropriations leaders must now work to negotiate 302(b) allocations—funding levels for each of the 12 individual appropriations bills that compose the federal budget and then subsequently determine program-level funding for federal initiatives and programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). Current federal funding, which has been operating under two separate continuing resolutions (CRs) that temporarily extended FY23 funding levels for separate portions of the federal budget, is set to expire on January 19 and February 2 respectively. Lawmakers will need to act by these dates, likely via another short-term CR, to avert a partial or full shutdown of the federal government as they continue to negotiate program allocations under this new FY24 agreement.

Complicating the pathways forward, a faction of conservative House Republicans has voiced significant opposition to this topline agreement and has recently made efforts to stymie legislative progress on this issue in protest of the accord. It remains unclear at this time how Congressional leaders in both chambers will chart a course forward as they continue to develop and finalize FY24 appropriations legislation. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will be advocating for a strengthened investment in Perkins V’s basic state grant program, along with other critical investments in education and workforce development of interest to the wider CTE community. 

House Education Subcommittee to Hold Hearing Next Week

Next Thursday, January 18, at 10:15 a.m., the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Aaron Bean (R-FL), plans to hold a hearing titled: “Preparing Students for Success in the Skills-Based Economy.” The subcommittee has not yet published the witness list for the hearing but it is expected to focus broadly on strategies and efforts to prepare learners for growing and in-demand careers. The hearing will be live-streamed here

ED Issues Guidance on Pandemic Funding

On Tuesday, January 9, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) issued a guidance letter outlining the process K-12 schools and districts must undertake to obtain an extension to spend down remaining federal aid provided by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department is encouraging grantees to request an extension on this year’s spending deadline by December 31, 2024 and outline how such an extension will contribute to the core goals and objectives of these funds. More information on how to apply for additional funding flexibilities, including related forms, can be accessed here.

ED Proposes Grant Rule Changes

This week ED also published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that aims to amend the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). The proposed rule would make a series of technical updates to EDGAR, which provides an overarching framework for the agency’s administration of discretionary and formula grant programs. The proposed changes range from technical updates to substantive revisions intended to streamline existing regulations, align EDGAR more closely with other more recently passed federal legislation and increase flexibility in grant administration. In the NPRM, ED estimates the proposed rule would result in a net reduction of burden for grantees. Most amendments are technical in nature or provide additional flexibilities. ED is soliciting comments from the public for the next 45 days and will close on February 26.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Extends Funding Through Early Next Year

Friday, November 17th, 2023

This week, Congress passed another short-term extension of current funding for all federal programs and operations through early 2024. The measure maintains current funding levels for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) along with other critical investments in education and workforce development. 

Congress Approves Funding Extension

After weeks of uncertainty, newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced plans over the weekend to advance legislation that would temporarily extend current federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funds through early next year. The legislation bifurcates the 12 individual spending bills that compose the federal government into two separate tranches — known as a “laddered” continuing resolution (CR) — with two separate expiration dates of January 19 and February 2. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations component of this legislation would extend funding for programs like Perkins V and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) through the February 2 deadline.

The laddered CR approach was initially met with skepticism by some lawmakers, as the strategy does not appear to fundamentally change the underlying dynamics of Congress’ current challenges in finding common ground on full-year FY24 spending. Nonetheless, the measure was introduced in the House this week and passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority by a margin of 336-95. Notably, 93 Republicans and two Democrats voted against the measure—a dynamic that, just a few months ago, led to the surprising ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this fall. The laddered CR was quickly taken up by the Senate where it was passed on a bipartisan basis by a margin of 87-11. The bill was just recently signed into law by President Biden before current funding legislation was set to expire later today (November 17).

Ostensibly, the passage of a CR is intended to provide lawmakers more time to negotiate FY24 appropriations legislation. However, both chambers have struggled to make progress on their respective slates of appropriations legislation. Meanwhile, in the House, Republican leaders were forced to pull the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill from further consideration after it became clear the measure would likely not have the necessary support to clear the chamber. House leaders were forced to pull other spending measures from consideration for similar reasons the last few weeks as well.

While the passage of the CR will avoid a government shutdown for the remainder of this calendar year, it remains unclear how Congress will use this additional time to either pass additional individual appropriations legislation, negotiate a larger full-year FY24 package or take an alternative route altogether. Advance CTE is continuing to engage with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure that the funding needs of the CTE community are realized as part of this wider process. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: FY24 Funding Deadline Approaches

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

This week, lawmakers struggled to find common ground on a path forward on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding as a new deadline next week quickly approaches while the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance regarding federal civil rights obligations. 

Agreement on FY24 Funding Remains Out of Reach

This week, lawmakers continued to struggle to find consensus on a pathway forward on FY24 funding. As a reminder, the short-term extension of current FY23 funding levels, known as a continuing resolution (CR), is set to expire next week on November 17. Since neither chamber has made significant progress on individual FY24 appropriations legislation this week, lawmakers must now find consensus on another approach before this fast-approaching deadline.

Earlier this week, House Republicans met to consider several possible strategies, including a “laddered CR” approach, which would stagger deadlines of various appropriations bills over the next several weeks. However, House Republicans did not reach consensus on this, and it remains unclear how Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) plans to proceed. Recent reports indicate that the House may try to consider an extension of funding sometime early next week. Meanwhile, in the Senate, leaders are reportedly working on a forthcoming proposal to extend current funding levels. However, most recently, Republican Senate leaders have called for additional funding for issues at the southern border, which has complicated progress in the chamber. 

With only five legislative days until next week’s deadline, lawmakers appear to be no closer to finding agreement on FY24 funding due to these outstanding differences. Advance CTE is monitoring this process closely and engaging with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure that the funding needs of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community are met through this wider process. 

ED Issues Dear Colleague Letter Regarding Obligations to Address Discrimination

Over the last several weeks, several hate-based or bias-based incidents across the nation have occurred with increasing frequency following rising tensions in the Middle East. In response, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter to schools and institutions re-emphasizing their responsibilities and obligations under the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to provide students with environments free of discrimination based on race, color, or national origin. In addition, the House Education and Workforce’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development is holding a hearing on the same topic next week while members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee are holding a roundtable drawing attention to this issue. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Consensus on FY24 Remains Elusive as Artificial Intelligence Comes into Focus

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

This week, Congress has continued to make modest progress on appropriations legislation for the federal government while lawmakers and President Biden have begun to consider how to manage the coming use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. 

Congress No Closer to Agreement on Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Education Spending

With new House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) in place and another possible government shutdown only two weeks away, a new sense of urgency has swept Capitol Hill as lawmakers worked to pass several appropriations measures in both chambers this week. In the House, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations bill — legislation that provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other important Career Technical Education (CTE) related investments—has been moved directly to the House floor for consideration and a vote is scheduled sometime the week of November 13. As a reminder, if enacted, this proposal would reduce funding for Title I of the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) by 80 percent and would substantially cut funding or entirely eliminate many other education and workforce development programs like the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). 

The Senate has not yet scheduled further consideration of its own version of this legislation which most recently advanced out of the Appropriations Committee and is awaiting consideration by the upper chamber. Unlike the House version of this legislation, which would freeze current funding for Perkins V’s basic state grant program, the Senate’s proposal would provide a much-needed $43 million increase in support for the primary federal investment in CTE. 

Under the new leadership of Speaker Johnson, the House has continued to pass other spending proposals that would drastically cut federal funding for a variety of programs, falling well below the topline spending targets outlined in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) — a bipartisan agreement that was passed by Congress earlier this year which avoided a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt obligations. At the same time, the Senate has continued to advance spending proposals that conform to the FRA agreement. With both chambers proposing wildly different visions for FY24 funding, it remains unclear how lawmakers will move forward by the middle of this month. Unless agreement can be reached by the beginning of 2024, an across-the-board sequester cut to all federal programs, mandated by the FRA, will come into effect. As these efforts continue to unfold, Advance CTE is continuing to work with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure the funding needs of the wider CTE education community are met as part of this process. 

Biden Administration Unveils Artificial Intelligence Executive Order

On Monday, October 30, President Biden issued a wide-ranging Executive Order regarding the “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence” (AI). The measure has several components of note for the CTE community including how to support workers displaced by AI, strategies for attracting and retaining AI talent and directing federal agencies to explore how to strengthen or expand pathways programs leading into AI or adjacent occupational fields. The Executive Order also directs the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to develop resources, policies, and guidance on AI in education within one year and similarly directs the Departments of Labor, Commerce and others to produce similar recommendations on legislative and regulatory actions that can better support workers and learners navigate a world changed by the implementation of AI and related technologies. Learn more about these efforts in this factsheet.

Senate Examines AI’s Impact on the Workforce

Earlier this week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions’ Subcommittee on Employment and Workforce Safety held a hearing titled, “AI and the Future of Work: Moving Forward Together.” The hearing featured testimony from witnesses representing the private sector and explored the potential impacts that AI will likely have on work as well as potential strategies to mitigate negative effects. A key theme of the hearing centered on the growing importance of lifelong learning, including the need to reform ways that the federal government supports learners pursuing postsecondary education. To that end, Senator Kaine (D-VA) highlighted the importance of Congress passing the JOBS Act – legislation that would expand Pell Grant eligibility for high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs. 

ED Distributes New Funding for Educator Diversity and Compensation Efforts

Late last week, the U.S. ED announced that it was awarding $115 million in new funding via the Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program — an initiative authorized by ESSA. These funds will support nearly 30 projects that aim to address teacher shortages while also increasing instructional staff diversity. This investment “… will help states and school districts recruit and retain new talent, increase compensation, and address educator shortages that we know disproportionately impact students from our communities of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities and English learners,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, in part, as part of the announcement

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Set to Return Next Week to a Busy Agenda

Friday, April 14th, 2023

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

Secretary Cardona Set to Testify Next Week

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

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

ED Seeks Peer Reviewers

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

First Lady Highlights Career Pathway Efforts in Vermont

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

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

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

Senate HELP Committee Seeks Input on ESRA

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

ED Proposes New Title IX Rule

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

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Advance CTE Board President Testifies Before Congress

Friday, March 31st, 2023

This week Advance CTE’s Board of Directors President Laura Scheibe testified on Capitol Hill. Elsewhere, efforts to fund federal programs later this year continue while the House examines the U.S. labor market and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) makes a series of new announcements. 

Advance CTE Board President Testifies Before Congress 

On Wednesday, March 29, Laura Scheibe, Advance CTE’s Board of Directors President and South Dakota’s State Director for Career Technical Education (CTE), testified before the House Appropriations, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) Subcommittee regarding rural workforce development issues and the role her state’s technical college system has in providing more quality CTE opportunities for learners. The Labor-HHS-ED Subcommittee is the primary entity in the House with responsibility for overseeing funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education as amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) as well as other federal education and workforce development programs falling under the purview of these agencies. Scheibe highlighted South Dakota’s CTE successes, including increased demand for programs, high completion rates, alignment with industry, and other key elements of the state’s CTE system that provides a high impact for its learners, many of whom reside in rural communities. 

Scheibe’s appearance also highlighted the importance of the federal investment, made through Perkins V, that helps to make much of this possible. “This federal investment means our students learn on modern, industry-grade equipment so they come out workforce ready,” she noted in her testimony. She also highlighted the critical role Perkins has in supporting learners, noting “Perkins-funded Student Success Coordinators meet not just educational counseling needs, but transportation, affordable housing and navigating postsecondary as a first-generation student. For learners facing barriers, this can make all the difference to move from poverty into a family-sustaining career.” Scheibe also emphasized the important impact flexible Perkins funding can have to meet unique state and local needs saying, in part, “Additionally, our state’s Reserve Fund, a flexible portion of Perkins, is a critical tool that allows us to further expand activities benefiting our rural communities. At the secondary level, this funding supports innovation and equipment not otherwise possible for small districts.” 

A full recording of the hearing can be found here, along with her written testimony. In recent weeks, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has also submitted written testimony to the Labor-HHS-ED Subcommittee calling for increased investment in Perkins V’s basic state grant program. 

Take Action on FY24 Perkins Funding

Written by Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Original post can be found here

Each year, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) lead a “Dear Colleague” letter to be sent to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting robust funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) in the FY 2024 Labor, Health, and Human Services appropriations bill. We need your help again to secure an increase for Perkins that ensures CTE can continue to meet urgent workforce needs and serve as a critical part of the country’s economic growth. CLICK HERE to ask your senator to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter!

House Holds Hearing on Employment

On Tuesday, March 28, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing titled “Unleashing America’s Opportunities for Hiring and Employment.” Witnesses included economists and employer representatives who discussed the current state of the American labor market and debated policies that could directly impact current economic conditions. Of note, witnesses and committee members frequently highlighted the importance of high-quality educational pathways that lead to further opportunity and greater economic growth. In particular, members highlighted the importance of CTE programs and related pathways as a primary way to address ongoing labor shortages in key sectors of the economy. More information on the hearing, including an archived webcast, can be found here

ED Unveils Work-Based Learning Grant Challenge 

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) formally launched the “Career Z Challenge”—a new grant competition intended to surface innovative approaches to expanding learner access to work-based learning opportunities. The multiphase grant competition will seek to identify promising best practices that can be scaled elsewhere in the nation. Local education agencies and schools that receive federal Perkins V funding are eligible to apply and to share their ideas for how to improve and expand work-based learning. More information on the challenge can be found here.   

Senate Appropriations Outlines Hearing Schedule

In anticipation of further Congressional efforts to advance federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) legislation this year, the Senate Appropriations Committee announced a series of hearings to examine the Biden Administration’s Congressional budget request. A hearing examining the U.S. Department of Education’s FY24 budget proposal is currently scheduled for May 11. A date has not yet been set for the U.S. Department of Labor. The full list of hearings can be found here

ED Issues Teacher Pipeline Guidance

Recently the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) issued a “Dear Colleague” letter outlining ways state and local leaders can leverage federal funds to strengthen teacher pipeline efforts. Specifically, the guidance outlines ways that resources from the Perkins V can be used to support various teacher recruitment, retention and development initiatives. The letter can be found here.

 Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: New House CTE Caucus Leader Announced As Congress Nears Funding Deal

Friday, December 16th, 2022

This week the House CTE Caucus announced a new co-chair to lead the caucus in the upcoming 118th Congress. Meanwhile, lawmakers have continued to make progress on federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding in the hopes of completing work before the end of the year. 

House CTE Caucus Leadership Announcement

This morning longtime House CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) announced that Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) will succeed Langevin in the upcoming 118th Congress as the new Democratic co-chair of this bipartisan caucus. Alongside his colleague Rep. Thompson, Rep. Langevin led the House CTE Caucus for over a decade. He is set to retire at the end of the current 117th Congress. “Representative Langevin’s leadership as co-chair of the House CTE Caucus culminates over two decades of dedication to increase the awareness of and support for CTE and its learners,” said Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green when this news was announced. “Advance CTE is incredibly grateful for his partnership and dedication, and we wish him the very best in his next chapter. We look forward to working with Representative Bonamici in the next Congress to secure the necessary resources for state leaders to build high-quality, equitable CTE systems for every learner.” 

Our organization is appreciative of Rep. Langevin’s many years of service in support of high-quality CTE programs and the millions of learners they serve across the country. We look forward to continuing this work in the next Congress in collaboration with Rep. Bonamici in this new capacity. 

Lawmakers Near Agreement on FY23 Funding

Congress stayed in session this week as part of a busy lame duck session to attend to a number of “must-pass” items still left on lawmakers’ agendas. Top among this list is the need to pass full-year funding legislation for FY23 . Current stopgap legislation, known as a continuing resolution (CR), extended FY22 funding through December 16 (today) of this year for all federal operations and programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). 

For weeks, lawmakers have struggled to find consensus on topline spending figures for defense and non-defense spending. On Tuesday evening, Congressional leaders announced that they had reached a tentative agreement on the overall size of an FY23 package—an important first step in the wider process of developing a full-year FY23 funding package. At present, this “framework” agreement will reportedly total approximately $1.7 trillion, but specific details regarding this emerging deal have yet to be made public. In the interim, lawmakers passed an additional CR last night, lasting through December 23, to provide themselves with more time as they continue to negotiate the specific program-level spending details underlying this forthcoming funding package. 

As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will continue to work with partners on Capitol Hill to advocate for full-year FY23 funding and to encourage greater investments in CTE as part of this wider process.

ED Hosts STEM Summit

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) hosted a “YOU Belong in STEM” summit at its Washington, D.C. headquarters to support and promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education across the nation. The convening brought together stakeholders to discuss strategies and best practices for how to implement, at scale, high-quality STEM education opportunities, particularly for learners from marginalized backgrounds. More on the effort can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

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

Friday, July 1st, 2022

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

House Lawmakers Advance FY23 Education Funding Bill

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

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

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

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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