Posts Tagged ‘perkins funding’

College in High School Series: Using Perkins Reserve Funds to Support Dual Enrollment CTE Programs

Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

Montana is looking at innovative ways to support its career technical education (CTE) early post-secondary opportunities by giving learners earlier access to dual enrollment offerings. This blog features Montana and the use of Perkins funding to expand access to dual enrollment opportunities for all CTE learners.  

Using Perkins Reserve Funds to Support Dual Enrollment CTE Programs

In 2018, the Strengthening Career Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) increased state reserve funds from 10 to 15 percent. Reserve funds must be used to foster innovation in Career Technical Education (CTE) and promote program alignment with high-skill, high-wage or in-demand careers. States have flexibility with how they allocate reserve funds and there is opportunity for local and regional areas to develop and expand early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) and invest in enhancing secondary to postsecondary transitions to ensure credit transfer or articulation for more learners.

Montana under the Montana Board of Regents, has used reserve funds to drive college acceleration through early postsecondary CTE opportunities in the state and increase secondary to postsecondary articulation agreements. As a result, Montana saw significant increases in dual enrollment participants and their program success rates. According to the Montana Perkins V State Plan, the number of learners taking dual enrollment courses doubled from 2014 to 2018, while the number of dual enrollment learners matriculating into a Montana University System institution tripled.

The state uses a competitive Perkins Reserve grant process to support the Montana Career Pathways (MCP) initiative – to increase awareness of secondary CTE programs and activities, as well as options for postsecondary degrees and credentials that align to the learner’s pathway. Competitive grants are available to tribal colleges, two-year colleges, community colleges and consortia.

Recipients can use Perkins Reserve grant funds to employ full-time dual enrollment coordinators and CTE dual enrollment exploratory activities. The coordinators serve as liaisons between secondary and postsecondary institutions and work closely with learners in helping them identify a pathway related to a career in a program their institution offers. In addition, coordinators serve as liaisons between faculty and staff and create collaborative spaces for secondary and postsecondary faculty by facilitating meetings to discuss articulation agreements and course transfer as well as collaboration with business and industry. Grant funds also allow for recipients to create CTE career exploration activities that connect secondary (middle and high school learners) with postsecondary learners, and staff to local industry partners for hands-on and meaningful CTE experiences.

Since the initial allotment of Perkins Reserve funds (under Montana’s previous state plan) has been hugely successful statewide, the Department has decided to continue the allotment into their updated Perkins V State Plan, strengthening and scaling its offerings while specifically committing to work with tribal colleges and special population learners. As such, the state continues to prioritize funding activities related to career exploration, CTE dual enrollment, and promotion of state-level CTE programs of study such as Montana Career Pathways, industry-recognized credential attainment and work-based learning opportunities. 

To learn more about how CTE early postsecondary opportunities such as dual enrollment serve learners, check out Advance CTE’s resource on Intentional Acts of Dual Enrollment: State Strategies for Scaling Early Postsecondary Opportunities in Career Pathways.

For more in-depth information on Montana’s work, please visit the following resources: State of EPSO, Montana Perkins Plan, Montana State Plan

Suela Cela, Senior Policy Associate

 

By Layla Alagic in CTE Without Limits
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: Congress Reaches Deal on Debt Ceiling

Friday, June 2nd, 2023

This week, lawmakers emerged with a compromise deal to raise the nation’s statutory borrowing limit– breaking a monthslong impasse on this important issue. The bill is expected to be signed by President Biden soon. Elsewhere, a new federal agency partnership has been announced.

Lawmakers Pass Debt Ceiling Deal

Since the start of the 118th Congress, lawmakers have struggled to agree on whether and how to raise the nation’s statutory borrowing authority (known informally as the debt limit or ceiling). This borrowing cap must be raised to pay for expenses Congress has already incurred. In recent weeks, the U.S. Treasury Department has estimated that the federal government will exhaust current options to service these debt obligations by June 5. Failure to raise the debt limit would result in an unprecedented default on the United States’ debt and would have severe economic consequences for the nation’s economy. 

For the last several weeks House Republicans, led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and President Biden have been intensely negotiating the contours of an agreement to raise the nation’s debt limit in exchange for spending and policy concessions. Over the Memorial Day weekend, lawmakers announced that they had reached agreement on this critical issue. The Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) suspends the debt limit for the next two years, through 2025, and establishes new spending caps for that same period of time. These spending caps, which will apply to the upcoming 2024 federal fiscal year (FY24) and the next (FY25), freeze current levels of federal investment in domestic programs, like those funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act as amended by the Strengthening Career and Techincal Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), at roughly current FY23 levels. These spending caps will make it more difficult to increase funding for Perkins V and the Career  Technical Education (CTE) programs it supports. 

The FRA also contains a provision that incentivizes the passage of all 12 federal appropriations bills later this year. Should Congress not achieve that goal, an automatic spending reduction would be applied to the entire federal budget until full-year appropriations legislation has been passed. Further, the bill would allow for a one percent increase in funding for domestic discretionary programs in FY25. Collectively, these provisions are intended to slow federal discretionary spending, which has been a significant priority for Congressional Republicans. 

In addition, the FRA rescinds approximately $28 billion in unspent pandemic aid funding, including an estimated $391 million in unobligated Education Stabilization Funding (ESF). While the ESF includes funding streams for K-12 education, higher education and private schools, early analysis of the legislation indicates that most of this rescinded funding will come from unclaimed resources that have not been disbursed by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). This means that these rescissions are not likely to have a substantial impact on states, school districts or postsecondary institutions given most of these resources have already been spent or otherwise obligated for future use. Finally, the FRA includes several other policy concessions sought by House Republicans, including imposing new work requirements for certain social safety net programs and modest reforms to permitting for energy projects.  

Lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill this week to consider and vote on the FRA. Late Wednesday night, the full House chamber passed the legislation by a margin of 314-117, with 149 Republicans and 165 Democrats voting in favor of the proposal. The bill moved quickly over to the Senate, where lawmakers there cleared the legislation late Thursday night by a margin of 63-36. The FRA now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature and enactment ahead of the fast-approaching June 5 deadline. 

ED and NASA Sign MOU

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen coordination between the two agencies related to increasing access to high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and space education programming. In particular, the MOU strengthens the agencies’ efforts to increase access for historically underserved student populations. “I am excited for this partnership with NASA that will inspire and prepare young people from all backgrounds to become our next generation of leaders in STEM fields and to propel our nation and our workforce into the future,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said at the MOU signing. More information on the agreement can be found here

Career Z Work-based Learning Challenge Deadline 

As shared earlier this spring, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) launched a new grant competition aimed at surfacing innovative approaches to expanding learner access to high-quality work-based learning opportunities. The “Career Z Challenge” will provide multiphase grants to projects and ideas that can be scaled elsewhere and nationally. 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. The deadline for applications is June 7 and more information can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: Lawmakers Near A Debt Limit Deal

Friday, May 26th, 2023

This week President Biden and congressional leaders have continued to work to find agreement on the need to raise the nation’s debt limit. 

Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue

This week, Congress and the Biden Administration have continued to vigorously debate the contours of a deal to raise the nation’s borrowing authority, also known informally as the debt limit or debt ceiling. This borrowing cap must be raised to pay for expenses lawmakers in Congress have already incurred. The U.S. Treasury Department estimates that the federal government will exhaust current options to service these debt obligations by early June. Failure to raise the debt limit would result in an unprecedented default on the United States’ debt and would have severe economic consequences for the nation’s economy.

Despite the urgency of the situation, negotiations between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the Biden administration have yet to culminate in a deal. As shared previously, House Republicans have sought significant spending and policy concessions from Democrats and President Biden in exchange for raising the nation’s borrowing authority. According to recent reports, an emerging agreement does seem to be near which would raise the debt ceiling for the next two years while creating new limits on discretionary spending during that time period. The deal also reportedly would have a mechanism to incentivize Congress to pass all 12 annual spending bills through the existing budget and appropriations process aligned with this wider, emerging agreement. 

However, negotiators have still been unable to find agreement on several other Republican priorities including the imposition of new work requirements for certain social safety net programs and permitting reforms, both of which Republicans are seeking in a final deal. Most recently, House appropriations leaders have cancelled planned markups for several fiscal year 2024 (FY24) spending bills—an acknowledgment that the ongoing debt limit negotiations are likely to set new overall spending constraints for the upcoming federal fiscal year.

At this time these discussions remain extremely fluid. As these negotiations continue, Advance CTE  will continue to closely monitor developments related to this situation and the potential impacts a final deal may have on the Career Technical Education (CTE) community.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
Tags: , , ,

Legislative Update: ED Proposes New Gainful Employment Rule While Debt Limit Impasse Continues

Friday, May 19th, 2023

This week top congressional leaders continued to try and find consensus on the need to raise the nation’s statutory borrowing authority, while lawmakers in the House examined recent congressional budget requests from the Biden administration for the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Elsewhere, ED has proposed new rules for certain postsecondary programs and new priorities for competitive grants for Career Technical Education (CTE). 

Debt Limit Deadline Nears 

For the last few weeks, congressional leaders and President Biden have been intensely debating whether and how to raise the nation’s statutory borrowing authority, known informally as the debt limit or debt ceiling. Current forecasts estimate that the federal government will breach this borrowing authority—which is intended to pay for debts Congress has already incurred—in early June. Failure to raise the debt limit would have catastrophic consequences for the nation’s economy. This week, lawmakers continued to meet and negotiate but have made little progress.

More recently, these discussions have been limited to senior staff representing the Biden administration and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy—a development that has been widely viewed to mean that these discussions are narrowing a potential set of issues that could compose a compromise. These issues reportedly include a number of Republican priorities including permitting reform, work requirements for social safety net programs and, of particular note for the CTE community, potential caps on the overall size of the federal budget for the next several years. As shared previously, House Republicans are insisting on concessions from Democrats on these topics in exchange for raising the debt limit. As of this writing, these discussions remain extremely fluid.

Advance CTE is closely monitoring this situation and related developments, particularly for the potential impacts it may have on CTE and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act as amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). 

Secretary Cardona Testifies in the House

On Tuesday, May 16, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing examining the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget request and related priorities. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before the panel regarding a wide range of topics including recently proposed Title IX rules, critical race theory, parent’s rights and many other hot-button education issues. While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle disagreed on many of these issues, the need to reform postsecondary financial aid policies– primarily by expanding federal Pell Grant eligibility for shorter-term, high-quality postsecondary CTE programs– was a rare area of agreement which was also echoed by Secretary Cardona. Advance CTE has also long championed legislation that would achieve this. 

During the hearing, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) highlighted a recent visit he and Secretary Cardona made to a local CTE high school noting that “. . . they are turning away hundreds of kids who would love to take advantage of the benefit of career and technical education” due to a lack of capacity and related resources. Rep. Courtney highlighted the importance of formula funding for Perkins V, which he noted the administration has proposed to increase by $43 million in FY24. Despite this encouraging aspect of the President’s budget request, ED has also requested $200 million in funding for the creation of a new competitive grant program. Advance CTE and partners have previously shared concerns regarding this proposal, which ED estimates would only serve 32 programs in total, particularly given growing demand for CTE programs across the country. An archived webcast of the hearing, including opening statements, can be found here.

ED Outlines Priorities for Perkins I&M Grants

On Monday, ED published proposed priorities for Perkins V’s Innovation and Modernization (I&M) grant program. Last year, Congress provided an additional $25 million for Perkins V’s I&M account to advance innovative approaches to delivering CTE programs. The priorities proposed by the Department include career advisement and counseling, dual and concurrent enrollment, work-based learning and industry-recognized credentials. These priorities align with ED’s wider “Career Connected High Schools” initiative, which is conceived using these same priority areas. As mentioned elsewhere, ED has been seeking an additional $200 million for this initiative in the ongoing FY24 appropriations process. ED is inviting feedback on these priorities for the next 30 days. More information can be accessed here.

ED Proposes New Gainful Employment Rule 

Earlier today, ED proposed a new and highly-anticipated “gainful employment” (GE) rule as part of a wider package of other postsecondary regulations recently negotiated by the department and other stakeholders last year. The regulations would apply to certain postsecondary career education programs and determine their eligibility for federal student financial aid from Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) based on programs meeting certain performance standards related to graduates’ earnings and ability to pay back student loans. Earlier iterations of this rule were first proposed by the Obama administration over a decade ago and finalized in 2014 which were later rescinded by the Trump administration a few years later after a series of legal challenges. 

This newly proposed GE rule would require certain postsecondary programs to demonstrate that at least half of their graduates earn higher wages than a typical high school graduate in their state within a three-year period. The rule would also apply a debt-to-earnings ratio, similar to previous versions of GE rules, which would require a graduate’s debt to amount to no more than eight percent of a graduate’s overall earnings and no more than 20 percent of their discretionary income. Programs would be evaluated using both of these performance measures and those that fail to meet these thresholds twice within three years, would lose access to federal student aid funding derived from HEA. Based on this current timeline, ED is likely to promulgate a final GE rule by November 1, 2023, which could take effect July 1, 2024.

In addition, ED is also proposing supplementary data collections from all postsecondary institutions and programs, including those not covered by GE, to develop a new website providing learners and families with more information regarding these programs. This proposal is related to a recent request for information from ED earlier this year regarding the potential creation of a list of “low financial value” postsecondary programs. The regulatory package also includes changes to existing ability-to-benefit rules, which govern how learners without a high school diploma can qualify for federal student aid as they pursue postsecondary education. Currently, this rules package is open for public review and feedback until June 20, 2023. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: Impasse on Debt Ceiling Continues

Friday, May 12th, 2023

This week lawmakers continued to negotiate a pathway forward regarding the nation’s borrowing authority, while the House examined federal investments in workforce development and the Senate hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to testify on the Biden Administration’s federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget request. Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced this year’s Presidential Scholars and circulated new guidance encouraging postsecondary institutions to assist in wider K-12 learning recovery efforts. 

Debt Ceiling Impasse Continues

Earlier this week, top Congressional leaders from both parties in the House and Senate met at the White House with President Biden to determine a pathway forward for increasing the nation’s statutory borrowing authority (known informally as the debt ceiling or debt limit). Recent estimates from the U.S. Treasury Department have indicated that the federal government will exhaust its current options by June 1 of this year. Failure to raise the debt ceiling would result in a national default on the nation’s existing debt obligations and would have devastating economic consequences.

Since the beginning of the year, House Republicans have demanded a litany of policy and spending concessions from Democrats and the Biden Administration in exchange for raising the debt limit. These concessions include significant and dramatic cuts to domestic discretionary program funding, including Career Technical Education (CTE) programs funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (as amended by the Strengthening Career Technical Education for the 21st Century Act; Perkins V). Democrats in Congress and President Biden have maintained that the debt limit should be extended without preconditions to avoid a default and negotiate separately on these other issues unrelated to the nation’s borrowing authority. 

Unfortunately, the meeting that took place on Tuesday failed to provide a clear path forward beyond this current impasse. With the debt limit deadline fast approaching, lawmakers have directed their staff to begin behind-the-scenes negotiations on a potential compromise and are expected to reconvene sometime in the near future. This situation remains fluid and Advance CTE  will continue to closely monitor developments related to this situation and the potential impacts it may have on the CTE community. 

House Holds WIOA Hearing 

On Thursday, May 11, the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Examining America’s Workforce Challenges: Looking for Ways to Improve Skills Development.” The hearing featured testimony from an array of witnesses ranging from employers to workforce development leaders and other stakeholders who provided perspectives and recommendations regarding ways to update and improve the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The hearing is a likely precursor to further House Education and Workforce Committee consideration of this legislation and focused particular attention on aspects of current law that could be changed to improve training services and related activities supported by WIOA. In addition, the hearing also highlighted the importance of resourcing state workforce development and CTE systems to improve results and related outcomes for workers and learners. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony and opening statements, can be accessed here

Secretary Cardona Testifies on FY24 Budget in the Senate 

Also on Thursday, May 11, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) hosted U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, to testify on the Biden Administration’s FY24 budget request for his agency. During the hearing Labor-HHS-ED Subcommittee Chair, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), questioned Secretary Cardona at length regarding CTE and the ways in which states, local education agencies and postsecondary institutions are using basic state grant funding from Perkins V to support high-quality CTE programs. During this line of questioning, Chair Baldwin noted that CTE learners graduate high school at higher rates than their non-CTE peers and also emphasized that they are more likely to go on to pursue further education and training. 

Notably, Secretary Cardona highlighted a number of CTE programs that he had recently visited that currently make use of existing Perkins V formula resources and noted how closely current Perkins V grant recipients, including employer partners, are collaborating to provide opportunities for learners. As shared previously, however, the Biden Administration is currently requesting $200 million in funding for the creation of a new competitive grant program– a proposal Advance CTE and others have shared significant concerns over. An archived webcast of the hearing, including Secretary Cardona’s testimony can be found here

Presidential Scholars Announced

This week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars announced the 59th cohort of U.S. Presidential Scholars—an initiative that annually recognizes 161 high school seniors for academic, career and technical and artistic achievements. The selection process takes into consideration a number of criteria including transcripts and test scores. Each year, this program features 20 CTE scholars for their outstanding achievements and recognizes related accomplishments. A full list of scholars can be found here

ED Encourages Federal Work Study to Help With Learning Recovery

On Wednesday, May 10, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter to postsecondary and school district leaders regarding the federal work study program and wider efforts to support K-12 student populations recover from lost instructional time during the pandemic. The primary purpose of the letter was to encourage postsecondary institutions to use Federal Work Study funding—provided to institutions as part of the Higher Education Act— to support opportunities for enrolled students to serve as tutors, mentors and other supportive roles. Additionally, the letter encouraged the use of the funds to assist in the implementation of afterschool and out-of-school time programs aimed at helping students recover lost learning and instructional time due to the pandemic. The letter also highlighted other funding sources that can be used in support of similar efforts. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: Secretary Cardona Testifies as Congress Aims to Raise Debt Ceiling

Friday, April 21st, 2023

This week U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before House lawmakers while Speaker Kevin McCarthy unveiled a new House Republican proposal to cut federal spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. Elsewhere the Senate CTE Caucus announced a new co-chair while leaders in the chamber finished circulating a Perkins funding letter. 

Secretary Cardona Testifies on Budget

On Tuesday, April 18, US. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education regarding the Biden Administration’s federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget request. The hearing focused on a wide range of issues including recently proposed changes to Title IX regulations, student debt cancellation, expanding Pell grants for shorter-term, high-quality postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and the need for broader data transparency. 

Notably, the hearing focused on the ongoing Congressional debate regarding the nation’s borrowing limit and the impact Republicans’ current proposal would have on many programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V).

A recent letter from Cardona outlined the significant and negative impacts House Republicans’ proposals for raising the nation’s borrowing authority, known informally as the debt ceiling or limit, would have if enacted. A webcast archive of the hearing, including testimony and opening remarks, can be found here.    

Speaker McCarthy Unveils Republicans’ Debt Limit Proposal

Since the start of the 118th Congress, lawmakers have been intensely debating the need to raise the nation’s borrowing authority, known informally as the debt ceiling or limit. Continued disagreements on how to achieve this have resulted in a political stalemate between the parties in Congress over the last few months. In a new development this week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy released a new proposal that would drastically reduce federal discretionary spending to FY22 funding levels, resulting in significant cuts to many domestic programs, including Perkins V’s basic state grant program.

Due to the aspects of the federal budget Republicans are proposing to exempt from these cuts, it is estimated that these cuts could potentially amount to a 22 percent reduction to most domestic spending not exempt– a far greater disinvestment than reverting spending back to FY22 levels. Concerningly, if these estimates are accurate this proposal would cut the primary federal investment in CTE made through Perkins by over $300 million. In addition, the proposal would limit increases in federal spending to one percent over the next decade, significantly reducing the ability to meet growing demand for CTE programs.

The proposal also calls for a slew of other Republican policy priorities such as reclaiming unspent pandemic aid funding, instituting new work requirements for social safety net programs, and many other proposals. In exchange, the legislation would extend the debt limit through March 31, 2024 or by $1.5 trillion—whichever occurs first. The proposal is expected to be introduced in the House sometime in the next week. Advance CTE is monitoring this proposal and encourages members to let their Representatives know the significant negative impacts this proposal could have on state CTE systems. 

Advance CTE and ACTE Announce New Senate CTE Caucus Co-Chair

Earlier today, April 21, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced that Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) will become the next Republican co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus.

“The Senate CTE Caucus raises awareness among federal policymakers of the breadth and impact of Career Technical Education and lifts up how CTE is critical to national education, workforce and economic priorities. We welcome Senator Budd to the Senate CTE Caucus leadership team and look forward to working together to advance policies that empower both state leaders and learners to achieve success through accessible, high-quality CTE,” said Advance CTE Executive Director Kimberly Green when the announcement was made.

Read the full press release here

OSERS Unveils New Grant Program

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative  Services (OSERS) announced a new grant funding opportunity known as the Pathways to Partnerships Innovative Model Demonstration Project. The program will provide $224 million in new funding for projects that strengthen collaboration between state agencies, local school districts, and other key stakeholders to improve learners’ access to postsecondary education and independent living opportunities. More on the announcement can be found here

Odds & Ends

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: CTE Funding Remains at the Forefront of Legislative Attention and Your Help is Needed

Friday, March 17th, 2023

This week Advance CTE and partners continued to advocate for proposals that will facilitate strong investments in CTE later this year. The House was on recess while the Senate remained in session. Elsewhere additional details regarding the President’s budget have been released along with a slew of other related developments. 

Your Help Needed – Support Non-Defense Discretionary Spending

Advance CTE has been working this year to ensure that Congress provides a robust allocation for the forthcoming federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) Labor-HHS-Education appropriations legislation. Known as a 302(b), this is the overall amount of funding that will be available for federally funded education initiatives and related programs, like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act(Perkins V), in the upcoming FY24 process. The larger this overall cap is, the more flexibility lawmakers will have to invest in issues important to the Career Technical Education (CTE)  community. In support of these efforts, Advance CTE encourages local, state and national organizations within your network to sign-on to this letter in support of this request by March 23. To do so, click here

Additional Details on President’s Budget Released

As shared last week, President Biden released a long-anticipated FY24 budget request to Congress. This release provided a high-level overview of the request, which proposes a $43 million increase for Perkins  V’s basic state grant program, along with a $200 million request for a competitive grant program focused on CTE among other items of interest to the CTE community. On Monday of this week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released Congressional Budget Justifications (CBJs) for this request. These CBJs provide additional information and detail regarding many of the proposals initially outlined by the Biden Administration last week. These can be accessed here.

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Unveils Youth Employment Initiative

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, who is set to leave the Biden Administration later this month, convened a “Youth Employment Works” summit to elevate his department’s new youth employment strategy. The summit and related strategy emphasize a “no wrong door” approach to providing services for youth, maximizing public-private partnerships and promoting paid work experiences for young people. DOL is also soliciting feedback from the public regarding how stakeholders are leveraging federal funds for these and other related purposes. More on the summit and the strategy can be found here

Congressional CTE Caucus Briefings 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Advance CTE hosted two Congressional staff briefings last week. These briefings provided an introduction of CTE, an overview of the mechanics of Perkins V and highlighted local program examples of these efforts in action. The briefings also featured remarks from House CTE Caucus Co-chair Rep. Bonamici (D-OR). 

New Short-Term Pell Proposal Released 

Last Friday, House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the “Jobs to Compete Act,” legislation that seeks to expand federal Pell grant eligibility for certain postsecondary CTE programs. This is the third Congressional proposal on this topic which indicates significant interest amongst lawmakers on this issue. More on the legislative proposal can be found here and here

OCTAE Publishes New Apprenticeship Guidance 

Recently, ED’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) published new guidance regarding Perkins V and how the law could be used to support apprenticeship programs and related activities. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze this non-regulatory guidance and will continue to work with the CTE community on this issue. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: President Biden Releases Congressional Budget Request

Friday, March 10th, 2023

This week President Biden released a much anticipated annual Congressional budget request for federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24).  In addition, House Republicans have made changes to appropriations legislation rules that impact CTE funding. Advance CTE asks members to encourage their representatives in  Congress to support much needed reforms to federal Pell Grants. 

President Biden Unveils FY24 Budget Request 

Earlier today, President Biden released his long-anticipated federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget request to Congress. The request proposes a $43 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program– a proposed three percent increase over FY23 enacted levels. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) have been advocating for a $400 million increase for this program to close an inflationary gap in funding that has widened considerably since FY04. Advance CTE will continue to pursue this goal with partners on Capitol Hill as the wider FY24 process unfolds later this year.  

In addition, the Biden Administration has also renewed its request, first made last year, for $200 million in new funding for the creation of a new competitive grant program known as “Career Connected High Schools.” This initiative seeks to prioritize dual and concurrent enrollment, work-based learning, industry-recognized credentials and career counseling. Notably, Perkins V’s basic state grant program includes these priorities as eligible uses of funds and many states and local recipients currently use these resources to support these, and many more, opportunities for learners. Advance CTE has previously raised equity concerns regarding the Career Connected High Schools grant program–which the Administration estimated last year would only reach 32 programs in total–due to the limited scope and reach of a competitive grant program. Advance CTE and ACTE released a statement outlining these concerns following the formal publication of the budget. 

Encouragingly, the budget request proposes significant new mandatory and discretionary funding to make two years of community college tuition free, so long as students and institutions meet certain criteria. The request also proposes a $25 million increase in funding for Student Success and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act)– another key source of federal funding that can be used in support of CTE. Regarding the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) portion of the request, the Administration is proposing $50 million in additional funding for registered apprenticeship programs, $200 million for the creation of a sector-partnership grant program and $11 million for the Workforce Data Quality Initiative– nearly double the FY23 enacted level. Elsewhere in this portion of the budget, the Administration has proposed additional investments to improve labor market information and to modernize outdated IT systems to better serve workers.  

Additional details regarding the budget are expected to be available next week. The release of the budget formally begins the wider FY24 budget and appropriations process in Congress—an effort that is expected to be challenging in a divided Congress. As this process gets underway, Advance CTE will continue to work with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure the funding needs of the CTE community are reflected in final legislation. 

House Republicans Ban Education Earmarks

For the last few years, members of Congress have been able to make specific funding requests in support of projects or initiatives related to their home state or district. Known formally as “community project funding” in the House and informally as “earmarks” elsewhere, these requests totaled $290 million in last year’s (FY23) spending package for career education initiatives. Last week, House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) announced new guidance for the upcoming FY24 budget and appropriations process. Among other notable changes, the guidance will not allow earmarks for the Labor-HHS-Education funding bill—legislation where Perkins V derives funding—in the upcoming budget and appropriations cycle. Elsewhere, the Senate has announced that it will still allow such requests this year which will be due April 13. 

Encourage Congress to Support the Short-term Pell Grant Expansion

As shared previously, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mike Braun (R-IN) reintroduced the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S.161)– legislation that would expand federal Pell grant funding eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs that meet certain criteria. Most recently companion legislation has been introduced in the House (H.R. 793) by Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH), Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), Michael Turner (R-OH) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ). 

This legislation is a longstanding federal policy priority for Advance CTE and is an important way to expand learner access to high-quality CTE program opportunities at the postsecondary level. Along with our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE),  we encourage you to reach out to your members of Congress to ask them to support this vitally important legislation and to share this information with your wider networks. 

To contact Congress about the JOBS Act, click here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Legislative Update: Lawmakers Return to Capitol Hill as Cardona Lays Out Vision for U.S. Department of Education

Friday, January 27th, 2023

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers have continued to make important decisions regarding their respective chambers. Elsewhere, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivered a major speech outlining his plans for the department in the coming year, while a slate of Presidential Scholars has been released. 

118th Congress Continues to Take Shape

Earlier this week, both the House and the Senate reconvened after recessing for the recent Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Lawmakers in the House continued to make important decisions related to committee assignments this week, which will have lasting impacts on Career Technical Education (CTE) funding and policymaking for at least the next two years. Of particular note, House Republicans announced that Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) will lead the House Appropriations’ Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-ED) Subcommittee—the entity that determines the budgets for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL), including related programs. In addition, Republicans have named new members to this committee, as have Democrats recently, but both parties have yet to assign members to specific subcommittees, including Labor-HHS-ED. 

Elsewhere, House Republican Leadership announced that the newly renamed House Education and Workforce Committee will be smaller in size than previous Congresses. Led by Chair Virginia Foxx (R-VA), leadership announced assignments to this committee, which has oversight over CTE policymaking. The full roster of Education and Workforce Republicans will include a mix of new and familiar faces in the new Congress. House Democrats have yet to provide a list of members who will be on the committee this year, although leadership recently confirmed that Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) will serve as Ranking Member. 

In the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released Democratic committee roster assignments, including for the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Appropriations Committees– the entities with responsibility for CTE policymaking and funding oversight respectively. Of note, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will chair the HELP committee, replacing longtime Chair Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) who will be leading the Appropriations Committee in the new Congress. In addition, Sen. Markey (D-MA) will be joining the HELP Committee this Congress, filling a vacancy left by Sen. Rosen (D-NV) who has been assigned elsewhere. Republicans have yet to announce similar committee assignments.  A needed “organizing resolution” is the next step in this process within the upper chamber, but Senators have not yet moved forward with this procedural requirement which is part of this delay. 

 As Congress works to organize, Advance CTE will continue to monitor these developments and engage with policymakers as the new 118th Congress continues to take shape. 

Secretary Cardona Lays out ED Priorities and Visits CTE Center

In a major speech on Tuesday, January 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona outlined his vision for the U.S. Department of Education for the coming year. The speech entitled, “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” highlighted several priority areas for the Department this year including efforts to boost academic excellence, improve learning conditions, and create more pathways to opportunities for learners.

Significantly, the speech highlighted the importance of CTE saying, in part, “We must challenge our myopic view that emphasizing the importance of career pathways is about limiting students, or the view that it’s four-year-college or bust. Advancing career pathways in high schools is about more options for students, not less. What it does is prepare them for the careers of today with options, and in some cases, their employer will pay for their future education. If we do this well, our graduates will be able to compete on a global stage. It’s my intention to Raise the Bar so we can lead the world in advanced career and technical education.” The full remarks can be found here

Following this speech further into the week, Secretary Cardona made a visit to Francis Tuttle Technology Center– an area technical center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma which has been featured in Congress previously– to tour the facility and highlight the importance of increasing access to CTE pathways programs. More on this visit can be found here.  

ED Announces 2023 Presidential Scholars Slate of Candidates

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced 5,000 learners who were named candidates to become U.S. Presidential Scholars—an initiative that annually recognizes 161 high school seniors for academic, technical and artistic achievements. As a reminder, in 2015 this program was expanded to include recognition of high-achieving CTE learners. A panel of educators and experts will review these candidate nominations and, using a variety of criteria including transcripts, test scores and portfolios of work, narrow down the list to approximately 600 semifinalists later this spring. Ultimately, the commission will select the final 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars for the upcoming 59th cohort in the program’s history, expected to be announced this upcoming May. More information on the program can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , ,

 

Series

Archives

1