Posts Tagged ‘JOBS Act’

Legislative Update: Secretary Cardona Testifies and Makes State CTE Visit

Friday, May 6th, 2022

Over the last two weeks U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before House appropriators while also leading several efforts to celebrate the importance of teachers and promote much-needed reforms to the Pell Grant program. Elsewhere, lawmakers introduced legislation to attract and retain a robust teacher workforce while the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee highlighted the importance of workforce development and apprenticeship programs. 

Secretary Cardona Testifies on FY23 Budget

On Thursday, April 28, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies regarding the Biden Administration’s 2023 federal fiscal year (FY23) funding requests for programs overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). This hearing is part of wider, ongoing efforts in Congress to consider aspects of President Biden’s FY23 budget request released a few weeks ago. During his formal testimony, Secretary Cardona focused on the need to close opportunity and achievement gaps by investing more in educational programs, addressing student mental health needs, growing the educator workforce, and building creative on-ramps to more affordable college and career pathways. During the hearing, lawmakers discussed a wide range of issues, including STEM education and lingering stigmas attached to “skilled trades” instruction. An archived webcast of the hearing, including Secretary Cardona’s testimony, can be found here

Although the Carl D. Perkins Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program was not mentioned explicitly during this hearing, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA) successfully led a Dear Colleague letter calling for robust funding for this program ahead of Cardona’s appearance. Nearly a third of Representatives in the House, 127, signed on in support of this letter– a reflection of the strong support the program has in Congress. 

Lawmakers Introduce RAISE Act 

Coinciding with national Teacher Appreciation Week, Sen. Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Schiff (D-CA) introduced the Respect, Advancement, and Increasing Support for Educators (RAISE) Act– legislation that, if enacted, would provide a sliding scale of refundable annual tax credits specifically for teachers. Tax credit amounts would be determined by school poverty levels where teachers work. Importantly, CTE instructors who meet state certification requirements would be eligible for up to $15,000 in tax credits. Advance CTE is proud to endorse this legislation and urges its swift enactment to help address persistent teacher shortages across the country. More information on the proposal can be found here

Cardona Promotes Pell Grant Modernization 

Secretary Cardona attended an event celebrating Second Chance Month last week, where ED announced it had invited 73 postsecondary institutions to participate in the third round of the Second Chance Pell Experiment– an effort that expands access to Pell grants for incarcerated individuals. During this event Secretary Cardona also expressed support for the expansion of the Pell Grant program for high-quality short-term CTE programs. As a reminder, lawmakers in Congress are debating whether to include a short-term Pell Grant program provision as part of wider conference negotiations over economic competitiveness legislation. Recently the Senate held a series of procedural votes to formally begin this negotiation process. Advance CTE has continued to advocate in favor of this change which is modeled after legislation long sponsored by Sens. Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH). 

ED Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week 

This week commemorates Teacher Appreciation Week—a time to honor the contribution of teachers nationwide. As part of these efforts,. Secretary Miguel Cardona kicked off the week with a visit to Richmond, Virginia to tour high school and postsecondary CTE programs with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). The event also included a visit to Richmond’s Teacher Residency Program which aims to attract and retain teachers in high-needs subject areas. Later in the week, Cardona hosted a roundtable further celebrating teachers and the invaluable contributions that they make each day. At this event, the Secretary discussed a public service loan forgiveness waiver announced last fall aimed at discharging student debt carried by eligible teachers. 

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

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

Odds & Ends 

 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Advances WIOA Proposal

Friday, April 8th, 2022

This week the House Education and Labor Committee marked up legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) while the Senate considers additional pandemic aid legislation with implications for postsecondary institutions. 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 Career Technical Education (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! 

House Democrats Release WIOA Reauthorization Proposal 

Since last spring, Congressional lawmakers have been considering and debating making updates to WIOA– federal legislation that funds the nation’s workforce development system. Last week, Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee released a comprehensive proposal to reauthorize this law dubbed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 (H.R. 7309). On Tuesday, April 5, the committee held a hearing to markup this legislation, considering and debating amendments to this proposal. An updated version of the legislation, known as an amendment in the nature of a substitute (ANS), was considered and ultimately adopted by the committee along party lines. This ANS made several small changes to the underlying legislation first released last week, including by adding digital literacy efforts as an allowable usage of WIOA youth funding. 

Broadly, Democrats were supportive of H.R. 7309 and highlighted aspects of the proposal that they either directly sponsored or generally supported. Republicans were broadly unsupportive of the proposed legislation, instead favoring a separate ANS proposal put forward by Rep. Miller-Meeks (R-IA). Republicans on the committee proposed several amendments to H.R. 7309, including this alternative proposal, which were all defeated along party lines. Following several hours of debate, the Committee passed H.R. 7309 by a margin of 29-21. This vote advances the legislation out of committee for further consideration by the full House chamber with a floor vote tentatively expected later this spring. 

Ahead of the markup, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) sent a letter to the committee, applauding certain aspects of the legislation, particularly the bill’s approach to the sharing of one-stop center infrastructure costs. The letter went on to note that work lies ahead to further refine and improve on this proposal. Despite the encouraging progress on WIOA taking place in the House, it remains unclear whether comparable activity will commence in the Senate. As these efforts continue to unfold, Advance CTE and its partners will continue to work with lawmakers to make updates to this important law aligned with the organization’s newly updated recommendations for this legislation. 

Lawmakers Consider Higher Education Recission

For the last few months, Congress and the Biden Administration have been grappling with how to pass additional legislation to fund pandemic response activities, such as the purchasing of testing kits, vaccines and additional therapeutics. Broadly, Republicans and Democrats have continued to disagree on how to pay for this supplemental funding package. Recently, a group of Senators has coalesced around a $10 billion package for this purpose. However, as part of this emerging agreement, Republicans have insisted that this be paid for using unspent pandemic aid dollars. Nearly $500 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief funds (HEERF) would likely be used to defray some of the total $10 billion cost of the package. A summary of the agreement can be found here. A timeline for the advancement and passage of this legislation remains unclear.  

Lend Your Support to Pell Grant Modernization 

Advance CTE and its partners have continued to advocate for the enactment of the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (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. 

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

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

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Brittany Cannady in Legislation
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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
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President Trump’s First Week in Office

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Trump Freezes Pending Regulations, Including those Related to ESSA Accountability

President Donald J. Trump was sworn into office on Friday. During the inauguration ceremony, the President said the U.S. has “an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge,” though he did not provide additional details about his plans for improving the federal education system.

Upon taking office, Trump immediately revoked any regulations not yet submitted to the Federal Register and postponed the effective date of pending regulations by 60 days. This echoes a similar move from the Obama administration in early 2009. Although the most recent round of ESSA regulations, which detail accountability and state plans, were published in November 2016, they were not set to take effect until January 30. As a result, those regulations will now go into effect on March 21, 2017. While this could implicate ESSA plan submissions, state officials and consultants do not anticipate the pause will affect state timelines, according to Education Week.

President Trump has also hinted that he wants to reduce federal regulations by 75 percent, though he has not indicated where these reductions will come from.

Lastly, positions at the White House are starting to be filled. Rob Goad, a former staff with Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) has been selected to fill the position of Education Advisor at the Office of Domestic Policy Council.  The Education Advisor position is not a “required” position, so the fact that the position has been filled early on is a potential signal of the administration’s intent to develop education policy priorities.

DeVos Vote Rescheduled to January 31

Last week we provided an overview of Education Secretary to be Betsy DeVos’s hearing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. While questions related to Career Technical Education (CTE) or reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act of 2006 were limited, the hearing turned out to be quite contentious, with Democrats protesting the limited time to review the nominee’s ethics report prior to a confirmation vote. Responding to concerns from his committee, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) postponed DeVos’s hearing by one week to Tuesday, January 31 to allow Senators additional time to review the Office of Government Ethics’ report. On Friday, Senator Todd Young (R-IN)  recused himself from voting on the DeVos confirmation, citing a conflict of interest because she donated to his campaign.

Senators Kaine and Portman Reintroduce JOBS Act

On the Hill, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, reintroduced the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students Act of 2017 (JOBS Act). The bill aims to expand the Federal Pell Grant program to include postsecondary CTE job training programs in in-demand industries. Under the bill, such programs must provide no less than 150 clock hours of instructional time over eight weeks and enable students to obtain a license or credential. Advance CTE has endorsed the proposed legislation.

WIOA Infrastructure Guidance

On January 18, 2017, Former Acting Assistant Secretary John Uvin, put out an extensive memo articulating additional information related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) infrastructure guidance. While the memo was directed to State Directors of Adult Education, Perkins is mentioned throughout. Advance CTE is in the process of analyzing the memo and will provide a more in depth analysis to members next week. We should note that it is unclear whether any of the non-regulatory guidance put forth by the Obama Administration will hold, given the Trump Administration’s push to reduce federal oversight and burden on states by reducing regulations.  

Austin Estes, Policy Associate and Kimberly Green, Executive Director

By admin in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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