Legislative Update: President Biden’s State of the Union Address and a New CTE Fact Sheet

This week lawmakers have continued to negotiate a forthcoming full-year spending bill for the 2022 federal Fiscal Year (FY22), while President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union address to Congress. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a new factsheet on how to use pandemic aid funding to support Career Technical Education (CTE), while lawmakers in the House examined the important role Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) have in providing economic opportunity to learners. 

Lawmakers Continue to Negotiate FY22 Spending Bill

Last October, Congress was unable to come to agreement on full-year funding for FY22. As a result, federal lawmakers have relied on a series of short-term funding measures—known as continuing resolutions (CR)—to continue government operations past the formal start of FY22 on October 1, 2021. These CRs simply extend last fiscal year’s funding levels for federal programs like the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) for a predetermined period of time. The most recent of these CRs is set to expire March 11. 

Until recently, Congressional leaders were optimistic that they would find agreement on full-year funding for the remaining six months of FY22. However, lawmakers are currently disagreeing on how best to provide emergency aid to address the ongoing Ukrainian crisis as well as on whether to provide additional funding to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, March 2, the White House formally requested both of these supplemental appropriations requests to House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA). 

Until these disagreements are reconciled, lawmakers are at an impasse, at least temporarily, on full-year FY22 funding. Should agreement not be reached in the coming days, Congress will likely pass an additional CR to provide more time for these negotiations to continue. As these efforts unfold, Advance CTE will continue to champion robust investments in CTE and Perkins V. 

President Biden Delivers State of the Union

President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, March 1. While a significant portion of the speech was devoted to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the President emphasized the importance of education and investments in workforce development. During his remarks, the President emphasized his administration’s plans to “. . . cut costs and keep the economy going strong by giving workers a fair shot, [by providing] more training and apprenticeships, [hiring] them based on their skills not degrees.” 

The address also emphasized the important role the American Rescue Plan (ARP) continues to play in helping states, schools, and postsecondary institutions recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, he called for greater investments in community colleges, encouraging lawmakers to, in part, “Invest in America. Educate Americans. Grow the workforce. Build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.” A transcript of the speech can be found here

House Holds Hearing on MSIs’ Role in Ensuring Economic Mobility

On Wednesday, March 2, the House Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing titled “ Investing in Economic Mobility: The Important Role of Hispanic Serving Institutions and Other Minority Serving Institutions.” The hearing focused on how these institutions are effectively serving learners and providing ladders of opportunity for career and economic advancement. In particular, lawmakers focused on strategies these institutions are employing to provide learners with labor market experiences, provide high-quality credentialing opportunities, and partner with employers to make postsecondary-to-career transitions more seamless. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here

ED Releases New CTE Fact Sheet

Late last Friday, February 25, ED released a new fact sheet highlighting how states and local school districts can make use of funding from the ARP’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding to support high-quality CTE programs. In particular, the factsheet emphasized CTE as a powerful way to reengage students to cultivate high-demand skills needed for jobs of the future. The resource highlighted several states’ efforts to use these resources to develop, expand, or otherwise implement CTE activities as part of their recovery efforts. The fact sheet can be accessed here. Advance CTE also has a similar resource for this purpose which can be accessed here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

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