Posts Tagged ‘Legislative Update’

House Lays Out Next Steps for FY25 | Legislative Update

Friday, May 24th, 2024

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers in the House laid out next steps for the the federal appropriations process while Congressional leaders elsewhere made announcements related to artificial intelligence (AI) and workforce development. Elsewhere, lawmakers are considering a new Farm Bill proposal while a new cohort of Presidential Scholars was recently announced. 

House Lays Out Roadmap for FY25 Appropriations

House Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) announced in recent weeks preliminary allocation totals for each of the 12 individual appropriations bills that compose the federal budget for the upcoming 2025 federal fiscal year (FY25). Known as 302(b) allocations, these topline funding totals are used by appropriations leaders on the committee to craft FY25 funding legislation later this year. This includes the Labor-HHS-ED funding bill which provides support for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) among other education and workforce development programs. The proposed 302(b) allocation for the Labor-HHS-ED funding bill is significantly lower than the total provided for this component of the federal budget in FY24. This means that the House Appropriations Committee is likely to propose significant cuts to domestic programs falling under this legislation as the Committee put forward last year.

In addition, Chair Cole released a tentative schedule to consider each of the dozen appropriations bills. The Labor-HHS-ED measure is expected to be considered at the subcommittee level on June 27 and by the full Appropriations Committee on July 10. This week the full House Appropriations Committee approved these 302(b) allocations on a party line vote 32-21. Similar announcements are still forthcoming in the Senate. As these efforts take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the significant funding needs of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community and other key education and workforce priorities this year.  

Senate Releases New AI Roadmap

A bipartisan group of Senators led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Senator Todd Young (R-IN), released a long-anticipated report regarding AI. The report or “roadmap” lays out a vision for future federal policymaking efforts, including a set of recommendations for Congress and the Biden administration to consider as AI technologies continue to mature and expand in their use. The report covers several policy areas including workforce development, encouraging the development of career pathways that lead to opportunities in AI. The roadmap also recommends that policymakers consider new regulatory frameworks to mitigate the potential negative impacts AI technologies may have on incumbent workers and ways to promote worker skills training opportunities in this area. Broadly, the report calls on the federal government to invest at least $32 billion on an annual basis to support the further development of AI technologies, promote wider innovation, and ensure wider equitable adoption and use of these emerging technologies.

View the AI Roadmap

Department of Commerce Unveils Workforce Policy Agenda

Recently the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced a Department Administrative Order (DAO) that establishes a workforce policy agenda for the agency. The agenda is intended to assist DOC in the ongoing implementation of several broad federal investments including the CHIPS and Science Act which contains several workforce development components to support the legislation’s broader aims of developing a more robust advanced manufacturing and semiconductor capacity here in the United States. The DAO lays out a set of principles to guide workforce development investments as well as wider Biden administration goals of developing quality employment opportunities for a broader cross-section of Americans.

Read the DAO

House Examines HHS FY25 Budget

Last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing to examine the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The hearing featured testimony from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra who spoke to the Biden administration’s recent federal fiscal year 2025 (FY25) budget request. Secretary Becerra responded to a wide range of questions including the importance of policies and investments supporting access to quality childcare as well as wider healthcare workforce needs.

View an archived webcast of the hearing, including the Secretary’s written testimony and related opening statements from lawmakers

CTE Presidential Scholars Announced

This week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars announced the 60th 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.

View the full list of scholars 

House Agriculture Committee Plans Vote on Federal Nutrition Programs

The House Agriculture Committee considered the 2024 Farm Bill this week, a $1.5 trillion legislative package that includes significant changes to federal agriculture and school nutrition programs. The legislation, unveiled by Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-PA) earlier this week, includes major components of the Creating Access to Rural Employment and Education for Resilience and Success (CAREERS) Act (H.R. 7015)—legislation that Advance CTE supported and endorsed earlier this year. Advance CTE has expressed support for the inclusion of the CAREERS Act among other aspects of the proposal. The committee considered the legislation yesterday and approved measure by a margin of 33-21. 

DOL Unveils New AI and Worker Well-Being Principles

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a set of principles on AI and worker well-being. The principles were developed in response to an earlier Executive Order (EO) from President Biden on AI last year and are intended to support workforce development professionals and employers in the deployment, development, and subsequent use of AI and related technologies. The principles focus particularly on mitigating potential negative impacts on workers of AI while balancing the need for innovation and economic growth.

Read the principles 

Steve Voytek, policy advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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House Examines ED’s Policies and Priorities | Legislative Update

Friday, May 10th, 2024

This week the lawmakers in the House hosted the U.S. Secretary of Education (ED) to testify regarding the agency’s policies and priorities for the coming year. In addition, the Senate examined the U.S. Department of Labor’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year while ED issues new guidance regarding school and institution’s civil rights obligations. 

Cardona Questioned on Perkins Regulations

On Tuesday, May 7, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing focused on oversight of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and its wider policies and priorities. The more than four hour hearing featured testimony from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona who responded to a wide range of questions and topics from lawmakers on the panel. These included a particular focus on ED’s ongoing challenges in implementing a newly revamped Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and newly finalized Title IX regulations which are set to go into effect later this summer.

In addition, Rep. “GT” Thompson (R-PA) questioned Cardona regarding ED’s plans to issue new regulations for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and highlighted the significant negative disruption this would have on states and Perkins recipients nearly six years after the law’s passage as communities collectively begin a new four-year planning cycle for the legislation. Thompson questioned Cardona as to whether programs funded by Perkins V are actively responding to the needs of the labor market and whether the law’s implementation, more broadly, has been successful. Significantly, Cardona responded yes to both of these questions and went on to say that he believes, “…that the evolution of Perkins to include CTE is where we need to go and it has been successful to get states to look at it differently.” 

When questioned further regarding the need for additional regulations for Perkins V, Cardona indicated that the planned proposed rules would be intended to broaden opportunities for learners to engage in “earn to learn” programs but did not specify a clear rationale for issuing new rules on the topic at this time nor did he provide further detail regarding what these regulations are likely to entail. Advance CTE has continued to raise significant concerns regarding these forthcoming regulations and has questioned why they are specifically necessary at this point in the law’s implementation. 

View an archived webcast of the hearing, including Cardona’s written testimony and related opening statements from lawmakers

Senate Examines DOL’s FY25 Budget Request

Yesterday, May 9, the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) Subcommittee held a hearing to examine and consider President Biden’s budget request for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for the upcoming 2025 federal fiscal year (FY25). The hearing featured testimony and perspectives from Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su regarding aspects of the agency’s FY25 budget request. The hearing examined a broad range of issues, including recent regulatory changes proposed or otherwise finalized by DOL, and highlighted the importance of workforce development investments.

View a full recording of the hearing including Su’s testimony

ED Issues New Guidance on Civil Rights Obligations

On Tuesday, May 7, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued a new Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) outlining school leaders’ responsibilities under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The DCL provides detailed scenarios and guidelines for identifying acts that could be considered discriminatory, including vandalism, protests, and verbal harassment. The guidance letter clarifies the legal requirements schools and institutions must adhere to in order to remain compliant with federal laws and emphasizes that non-compliance could lead ED to withhold federal funding. The guidance comes amid reported increases in antisemitic and other identity-based incidents on college campuses and within K-12 schools over the past several months.

View more information from ED on the guidance

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Congress Returns to a Busy Work Period | Legislative Update

Friday, May 3rd, 2024

Over the last few weeks lawmakers reconvened following a short recess period to address a number of critical issues, including the ongoing budget and appropriations process. Lawmakers have also held hearings with the leaders of federal agencies regarding the Biden administration’s recent budget requests and other policies and priorities. In addition, the Biden administration has made new regulatory announcements on a few issues of importance to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community.

House Holds DOL Oversight Hearing

On Wednesday, May 1, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing to examine the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Acting Assistant Secretary Julie Su testified on behalf of the agency and the discussion focused heavily on a multitude of new regulations the Department has proposed or implemented recently. Lawmakers appeared to be particularly skeptical of DOL’s recently proposed apprenticeship regulations which, among other proposed changes, would create a new programmatic structure for apprenticeship programs in K-12 and postsecondary education settings known as Career and Technical Education Apprenticeships (CTEAs). 

Long-time CTE Caucus co-chair Rep. G.T. Thompson (R-PA) questioned Su extensively on this topic and raised significant concerns regarding the Department’s proposal, the impact it could potential have on learners and CTE programs, and questioned the broader reasoning for this proposed programmatic structure. As a reminder, Advance CTE recently submitted substantial comments in response to this regulatory proposal and have been continuing to monitor and engage with stakeholders on this issue. A full recording of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here

Senate Examines ED’s FY25 Budget Request

Earlier this week, April 30, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) Subcommittee regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s federal fiscal year 2025 (FY25) budget request. In both of their opening remarks, Chair Baldwin (D-WI) and Ranking Member Capito (R-WV) highlighted the importance of CTE and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), including the need to strengthen investments in these efforts and noting the need to expand access to CTE opportunities for more learners. In addition, the hearing focused heavily on ED’s ongoing challenges in implementing a newly revamped Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and lawmakers questioned Caronda on a number of other topics including the importance of student mental health and newly finalized Title IX regulations. An archived webcast of the hearing, including Cardona’s written testimony, can be found here.

Title IX Rule Finalized

In recent weeks, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published revised Title IX regulations intended to provide new protections against sex discrimination. “These final regulations clarify Title IX’s requirement that schools promptly and effectively address all forms of sex discrimination,” said ED’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon as part of the announcement. The new rules are scheduled to come into effect August 1, 2024 and codify new protections for LGBTQ students, staff, and others against discrimination, including on the basis of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, the regulations will allow school districts to use a more uniform grievance process to address all forms of reported discrimination. More information regarding these new rules and implications for the CTE community can be accessed here

DOL Unveils New Rules on Overtime Pay

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a new regulation related to worker eligibility criteria for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The long-anticipated rules will have significant implications for employers across the country, including for schools, districts, and institutions. These new requirements are set to go into effect January 1, 2025. The regulations will increase current salary thresholds, currently set at $35,568, for workers entitled to time-and-a-half pay when working more than 40 hours in a week, to $43,888. By July 1, 2025, this threshold is set to increase to $58,656. DOL estimates that this will benefit approximately four million workers nationwide. More information on this announcement can be accessed here

Antisemitism Bill Advanced in the House

Lawmakers in the House considered and advanced the Antisemitism Awareness Act (H.R. 6900)—legislation that would codify the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism within existing civil rights legislation. This legislative proposal would also encourage the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to use this definition when conducting civil rights investigations when seeking to determine whether a complaint was motivated by antisemitism. The legislation was cleared by lawmakers in the House on a wide bipartisan margin of 320-91 late yesterday. Next week, the House Education and Workforce Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on antisemitism in K-12 schools.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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House Passes WIOA Bill as ED Promotes FY25 Budget | Legislative Update

Friday, April 12th, 2024

This week lawmakers reconvened following a spring recess period to address a number of pressing issues. In addition, lawmakers in the House advanced legislation to reauthorize federal workforce development legislation while the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before lawmakers regarding the Biden administration’s most recent budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Secretary Cardona Testifies on FY25 Budget Request

This week the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-ED)—the entity responsible for determining funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other critical education and workforce development legislation—held a hearing to examine the Biden administration’s federal fiscal year 2025 (FY25) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

The hearing featured testimony from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona who focused his remarks on the broad aims of ED’s FY25 budget request. Lawmakers discussed a broad array of topics at the hearing, including forthcoming Title IX regulations that are expected to be released by ED later this year and ongoing efforts to enforce civil rights protections for students. Lawmakers discussed other elements of the FY25 ED budget, including proposed increases in funding for newly proposed programs contained in the budget request. An archived webcast of the hearing, including testimony, can be accessed here

House Republicans Elect Rep. Cole to Lead Appropriations Committee

Current House Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) announced last month that she planned to step down from this leadership role. Since then, longtime House Appropriations leader Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) was heavily favored to succeed Granger in this critical post. This week, the House Republican Steering Committee met and recommended Cole for this role and the full House Republican conference voted to ratify him as chairman. The move is expected to likely shift additional appropriations leaders on the committee in the future. In addition, Cole has stepped down as Chair of the House Rules Committee, with Rep. Burgess (R-TX) set to succeed him on this important committee. 

House Passes WIOA Reauthorization Proposal

Earlier this week lawmakers in the House formally considered H.R. 6655—legislation that would reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Advance CTE and partners provided feedback on this proposal but did not endorse the legislation when it was passed by the House Education and Workforce Committee late last year. Lawmakers considered the legislation under suspension of the rules, meaning there was limited time for debate or wider efforts to dramatically change the legislation following its advancement last December. House lawmakers ultimately passed the legislation on a wide bipartisan margin, 378-26 

Despite the passage of this legislation, the future for H.R. 6655 remains uncertain. Senate leaders on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, including Chair Sanders (D-VT) and Ranking Member Cassidy (R-LA), are currently working to negotiate a separate legislative proposal to reauthorize WIOA potentially later this spring. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the organization’s WIOA recommendations to improve future federal workforce development legislation as it continues through the wider legislative process. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Congress Unveils FY24 Funding Package

Friday, March 22nd, 2024

This week lawmakers released a long-anticipated full-year funding proposal for the remainder of the federal budget, including for the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL). Elsewhere the Senate confirmed new DOL leadership overseeing the implementation of workforce development activities. 

Lawmakers Propose Slight Increase in Perkins State Grant Funding

As Advance CTE has shared previously, Congress has been delayed for nearly six months in finalizing and passing full-year funding for the current 2024 federal fiscal year (FY24), including for the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL), ahead of a March 22 deadline later today. Early yesterday morning, Congressional leaders unveiled the text of this long-awaited full-year FY24 funding package, also known as a minibus. 

Notably for the CTE community, the package proposes a $10 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program––a key priority for Advance CTE throughout the FY24 process. The full-year FY24 funding package would provide $79.1 billion for ED’s budget and $13.7 billion for DOL’s budget, both of which are slightly below FY23 enacted levels. Due to tight budgetary constraints required by last year’s debt limit agreement, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act, many education and workforce development programs are set to receive funding at roughly the same levels as FY23 or have slight reductions in funding support.

The FY24 package also includes a $20 million reduction in Perkins V’s national activities account––an area of the budget that ED has used previously to fund a newly created competitive grant program known as “Career Connected High Schools” (CCHS). Advance CTE and partners have previously shared concerns regarding this program and have called for greater resources to be dedicated to Perkins V’s state grant program to strengthen this foundational federal investment made in CTE. Beyond these aspects of the FY24 minibus, the funding package does provide significant new funding for childcare and early childhood education initiatives, as well as slight increases to Title I-A formula funding authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

Congress must work quickly today to vote on this FY24 funding package ahead of the aforementioned March 22 deadline at midnight this evening. Lawmakers in the House cleared the minibus by a 286-134 margin and it now goes on to the Senate for consideration and approval. Depending on how expeditiously Senators are able to take up this legislation today, a short lapse in appropriations still remains possible. Advance CTE is monitoring this process closely and will provide more information to the CTE community as these efforts move forward.

ETA Assistant Secretary Confirmed

Yesterday, March 21, the full Senate voted to confirm Jose Javier Rodriguez to lead DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) by a margin of 50-48. Rodriquez was first nominated by President Biden much earlier in the administration but his candidacy had been delayed in the Senate due to previous opposition from Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Bob Menedez (D-NJ). Yesterday’s confirmation vote marks the first time that ETA, DOL’s subagency which administers and oversees the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), will have a Senate-confirmed leader in this position during the Biden administration.  

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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President Biden Publishes FY25 Budget Request

Friday, March 15th, 2024

This week President Biden formally released his annual budget request to Congress. Elsewhere lawmakers in the Senate explore youth apprenticeship programs. 

Biden Administration Sends FY25 Budget Request to Congress

On Monday, March 11, The Biden administration formally sent its fiscal year 2025 budget (FY25) request to Congress this week. The president asked for $82.4 billion for the U.S. Department of Education (ED)—roughly 4% over FY23 enacted funding levels or about $3.1 billion. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, this request proposes a $40 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released a press statement after the publication of this budget applauding this aspect of the proposal, especially in light of the tight fiscal constraints. The budget is also seeking $32 million in additional funding to expand ED’s ongoing “Career Connected High School” competitive grant initiative– a component of the budget that Advance CTE has continued to raise concerns about. In addition, the ED portion of this FY25 budget is proposing greater investments in career-relevant dual and concurrent enrollment programs.

Elsewhere, the FY25 budget proposal includes a more modest request for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), asking Congress for $13.9 billion overall, a roughly 2.3% increase over current funding levels. This part of the budget includes a new $8 billion “Career Training Fund” which would be funded on a mandatory basis over the next 10 years. Per the budget, this fund would provide “…up to $10,000 per worker to support the cost of high-quality, evidence-based training with additional funding for wrap-around supports.” More details regarding this aspect of the proposal are still forthcoming.

The release of the President’s FY25 budget request formally begins the wider federal budget and appropriations process. However, as Advance CTE has previously shared, Congress is still working to finalize full-year FY24 funding, including for Perkins V and other education and workforce development programs. Lawmakers must complete this process by March 22 or pass legislation extending appropriations on another short-term basis. Most recently this week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a new analysis of the potential impact an across-the-board sequester cut (required by last year’s debt ceiling deal if full-year FY24 funding is not enacted by April 30 this year) would have on non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs like workforce development and education. The CBO is now estimating that this provision would have no impact on NDD programs, reducing a key point of leverage for some factions within Congress to oppose a full-year funding deal. 

As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE and partners will continue to advocate for a strong investment in Perkins V as part of both FY24 and FY25 appropriations cycles. 

Senate Explores Youth Apprenticeship

On Tuesday, March 12, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety held a hearing entitled, “Youth Apprenticeships: Building Partnerships, Strengthening Career Pathways.” The hearing featured testimony from several youth apprenticeship partners and examined how these programs are currently being implemented across the nation. Broadly, the hearing highlighted how youth apprenticeships and related pathways programs, including CTE, can provide learners with multiple options from K-12 education into postsecondary education and careers. Witnesses and Senators discussed strategies and approaches to expand these opportunities for more learners and ways to ensure program quality. In particular, Subcommittee Chairman John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Braun (R-IN) highlighted bipartisan legislation they recently co-sponsored that would broaden access to and funding for youth apprenticeship programs. A video webcast of the hearing and related testimony can be viewed on the Senate HELP webpage.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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President Biden Delivers State of the Union Address | Legislative Update

Friday, March 8th, 2024

This week President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Elsewhere, lawmakers continued to make progress on federal funding while the U.S. Department of Labor made new apprenticeship announcements. 

President’s State of the Union Address

This week both the House and Senate were in session ahead of a new funding deadline and the President’s annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress last night. The President’s address to Congress featured a range of topics, including how recent federal bipartisan legislation focused on infrastructure and the nation’s advanced manufacturing capacity have helped to spur greater demand for skilled workers. Notably, the President highlighted the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE) noting that his administration is working to connect “…businesses and high schools so students get hands-on experience and a path to a good-paying job whether or not they go to college.” 

The President also highlighted a number of other education and workforce priorities including increasing college affordability, broadening access to early learning opportunities, and increasing access to after-school and summer programs. President Biden also called for the creation of a climate corps, modeled off the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps programs, to provide opportunities for individuals, especially youth, to gain experience in clean energy fields. A full transcript of the address is available here

Congress Advances a New Appropriations Minibus

Earlier this week in the House, lawmakers formally advanced a package containing half of the dozen annual spending bills that compose the federal budget. The measure, known as a minibus, passed by a margin of 339-85. The legislation provides full-year funding for the remainder of the 2024 federal fiscal year (FY24) for several federal agencies including the Agriculture and Transportation Departments among others. The Senate is now in the process of considering this legislation ahead of a deadline later tonight when funding is set to expire for this slate of funding bills. While this measure is expected to clear the Senate and be signed into law by the President, the timing of passage remains uncertain at this time.

Once this effort is complete, lawmakers are expected to turn their attention to the remaining six funding bills that are still awaiting full-year FY24 funding. Among this tranche of funding bills is the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) funding measure, which provides funding for the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL), along with the programs that these agencies administer like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Funding for this portion of the federal budget is currently set to expire on March 22. Agreement on this slate of funding bills is still forthcoming. 

Although the FY24 process is not yet complete, President Biden is expected to release his FY25 budget request to Congress this Monday, March 11. As the FY24 appropriations process begins to wind down and as FY25 formally begins, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a strong investment in Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other funding streams that support high-quality CTE programs and related opportunities. 

Advance CTE Executive Director Appointed to Apprenticeship Advisory Committee

This week, DOL announced the appointment of a new cohort of leaders to serve on its Advisory Committee for Apprenticeship. Advance CTE’s Executive Director, Kate Kreamer, was among those formally appointed to this important advisory role for the Department which will provide guidance and recommendations to the agency on apprenticeship policy over the next two years. 

In addition to this announcement, President Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) this week aimed at expanding the use of apprenticeship programs within federal agencies and through federal grantmaking and contracting efforts. The EO includes the creation of an interagency task force to help formulate policies and strategies for the federal government to implement this directive, including prioritizing the hiring of individuals who complete registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs) and pre-apprenticeship programs. The order comes after the issuance of a new Training and Employment Notice (TEN No. 23-23) outlining new expectations for pre-apprenticeship programs. Advance CTE is encouraged by these recent efforts and looks forward to providing formal comment on DOL’s recent proposal to overhaul regulations pertaining to RAPs and other apprenticeship models later this month.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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New Short-Term FY24 Funding Deal Announced | Legislative Update

Friday, March 1st, 2024

This week lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill following an extended recess period. With a critical funding deadline landing this week, Congress announced a new short-term extension of existing federal funding to provide more time for ongoing negotiations to continue. Elsewhere, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that he is stepping down while new apprenticeship grants have been announced by federal agencies. 

Lawmakers Announce New Short-Term Funding Agreement

Two critical funding deadlines for federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) have swiftly approached: today, March 1, and next week on March 8, when existing FY24 funding is set to expire. As Advance CTE has been sharing for the last several weeks, Congressional leaders have been struggling to find consensus on full-year FY24 appropriations legislation, including the measure that provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). 

With time running short, Congressional leaders have been meeting throughout the week to chart a path forward. Late Wednesday evening, Congressional leaders announced a new bipartisan FY24 funding agreement extending these deadlines, at current FY23 funding levels, through March 8 and 22. The new continuing resolution (CR) agreement splits the dozen annual funding measures that compose the federal budget into two tranches. These two tranches now equally divide these measures with half now expiring next Friday, March 8, and the remainder on March 22. Of note for the Career Techincal Education (CTE) community, the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) funding measure, which provides funding for the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) along with programs these agencies administer, lands on the latter of these dates.

This agreement is intended to provide lawmakers with additional time to resolve outstanding issues related to full-year FY24 funding. These issues reportedly continue to center on the inclusion of additional and controversial policies, known as “policy riders,” which some Republican lawmakers are seeking to attach to FY24 funding measures while Democrats have remained opposed. Yesterday, the House passed this additional short-term CR by a 320-99 margin. The Senate quickly took up this latest CR and passed it by a wide, bipartisan basis 77-13. The measure now heads to President Biden’s desk where it will be signed into law prior to the existing March 1 funding deadline. Advance CTE is continuing to advocate for a robust investment in CTE via Perkins V’s basic state grant program as part of this wider process and looks forward to its timely completion soon. 

Senate Minority Leader McConnell Announces Retirement

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced earlier this week that he plans to step down from his leadership role later this year and retire at the end of his current Senate term (lasting through 2026). McConnell has led the Senate Republican Conference since 2007. Multiple senators, including John Thune (R-SD), John Cornyn (R-TX), and John Barrasso (R-WY) are widely expected to vie to succeed McConnell later this year. A formal election for the next Senate Republican leader is expected to take place sometime after the upcoming November elections.

DOL Announces $200M in New Apprenticeship Funding  

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the availability of nearly $200 million in new discretionary funding to expand registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs). This latest round of apprenticeship funding includes roughly $100 million in funding for State Apprenticeship Expansion grant funding and $95 million for a second phase of its Apprenticeship Building America, Round 2 (ABA2) grant initiative. Of note for the CTE community, the ABA2 grants include a new priority for applications that emphasize RAP alignment with education systems. 

The funding announcement goes on to indicate that additional priority will be given to applications that include CTE and those that also promote postsecondary credit attainment that can articulate for a degree. These funding opportunities are intended to align with DOL’s wider efforts to update apprenticeship regulations, including broadening training opportunities into more non-traditional economic sectors and for underrepresented populations while emphasizing greater intentional alignment with education systems, including CTE. More information on the grant announcements can be found here and here.

HELP Committee Renominates Julie Su

Earlier this week the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee reconsidered Julie Su’s nomination to be the next U.S. Secretary of Labor. As a reminder, Su has been serving in an acting capacity as the head of DOL since her nomination stalled in the Senate last year following opposition from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and all Senate Republicans. The committee advanced Su’s nomination on a party line vote, 11-10, but it remains unclear if she will garner the necessary support within the full chamber to be formally confirmed. A time to further consider her nomination has not yet been scheduled. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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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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CTE Month Gets Underway, FY24 Negotiations Continue | Legislative Update

Friday, February 2nd, 2024

This week marks the formal start of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month® which lawmakers have started to formally recognize on Capitol Hill. Elsewhere appropriations leaders continue to negotiate full-year funding for the current fiscal year. 

Congress Continues to Negotiate FY24 Budget

This week, appropriations leaders continued negotiations on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding for the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies. As shared previously, lawmakers recently extended federal funding on another short-term basis through March 1 and March 8 of this year to allow more time for negotiations on this critical issue. Lawmakers have reportedly come to an agreement on allocations for each of the dozen spending bills that compose the federal budget, known as 302(b) allocations. This includes the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill which provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) state grant program along with other important federal investments in education and workforce development. 

While the specific allocations have not yet been made public, this agreement represents a critical next step in the wider FY24 process and is an indication that these discussions are progressing toward an expected resolution ahead of the upcoming funding deadlines in early March. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE and partners are continuing to advocate for a strengthened investment in Perkins V’s formula grant program. 

CTE Month Kicks-Off 

Yesterday, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) formally introduced a Congressional resolution recognizing February as CTE month. “We are pleased to support the 2024 Career Technical Education Month resolution as a celebration of CTE’s contributions to our learners and communities, and applaud the leadership of the House CTE Caucus, led by Representatives Thompson and Bonamici, to highlight CTE’s central role in advancing economic opportunity for every learner across the nation,” Advance CTE’s Executive Director, Kate Kreamer, said upon introduction. The House caucus is currently circulating this resolution for additional support. Be sure to ask your representative to co-sponsor this year’s CTE month resolution.

In addition, co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus led by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), R. Michael Young (R-IN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ted Budd (R-NC) are leading a similar CTE Month resolution in the chamber. More information on the status of this resolution can be found here with our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Be sure to encourage your senators to support this effort if they have not done so already! 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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