Posts Tagged ‘Title IX’

WIOA Reauthorization Comes into Focus | Legislative Update

Friday, June 21st, 2024

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers have formally considered the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) while Congress continues to move forward on funding proposals with implications for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Senate Considers WIOA Reauthorization

On Wednesday, June 12, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing to examine issues related to the reauthorization of WIOA. The hearing featured testimony from a slate of five witnesses, including experts on youth apprenticeship, workforce development, and employer representatives. Witnesses highlighted the broader goals of the public workforce system, how WIOA is intended to operate, and the need to better resource workforce development efforts to meet these objectives. The issue of reforming the federal Pell Grant program to allow for shorter-term, high-quality CTE programs was a key theme throughout the hearing. Recently lawmakers in the House unsuccessfully tried to advance legislation on this issue in the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate is widely expected to formally consider separate legislation later this summer. 

In addition, the hearing examined a wide range of issues including the need to more effectively connect programs authorized by WIOA with K-12 education systems as a way to identify youth before they become disconnected from education or work. Senators and witnesses also discussed ways to better incorporate youth apprenticeship programs in high schools and the importance of supportive services and work experience for populations served by WIOA. The Senate HELP Committee is expected to release a discussion draft for WIOA reauthorization in the near future. Advance CTE will provide further analysis and recommendations regarding this proposal when it becomes available. 

View an archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony

House Lawmakers Continue to Advance FY25 Funding Proposals

The House has been on a recess period this week while the Senate convened for part of the week around the June 19 federal holiday. Before recessing, the House advanced the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—legislation that sets the policy direction for defense spending for the coming fiscal year. The House narrowly passed the NDAA, largely along party lines due to the inclusion of several contentious amendments by a margin of 217-199. When House lawmakers return next week, they are expected to begin formal consideration of the fiscal year 2025 (FY25) Labor-HHS-ED funding bill—legislation that provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other key education and workforce development investments. It is widely expected that this legislation will propose significant cuts, as lawmakers did last year, for many programs within this portion of the federal budget. 

More recently, Senate appropriations leaders announced that they will begin the process of considering, marking up, and advancing their own FY25 education funding bill next month. It is widely expected that the Senate will take a much more moderate approach for FY25 funding, although leaders have continued to share concerns regarding the caps currently in place that limit funding available for domestic programs, including for CTE. 

Title IX Rule Blocked

As shared previously, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently published new Title IX regulations intended to strengthen protections against sex discrimination. The new rules are scheduled to take effect August 1, 2024 and codify new protections for LGBTQ students, staff, and others against discrimination, including based on 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. However, in recent weeks two separate federal courts have temporarily blocked this rule in several states amid a flurry of lawsuits from Republican-led states objecting to the new rule. Further litigation on this issue is expected and a final resolution remains unclear. 

ED Issues Guidance on Correctional Education

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) issued a Dear Colleague letter calling for greater investments in education within correctional settings. The guidance urges states to use a greater share of Perkins V and Adult Education and Family Literacy Act funding for justice-involved populations. The letter argues that greater investment on this issue can help reduce recidivism rates and promote safer communities by helping to facilitate more seamless reentry for these populations. 

Read the letter from OCTAE 

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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Legislative Update: Congress Set to Return Next Week to a Busy Agenda

Friday, April 14th, 2023

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

Secretary Cardona Set to Testify Next Week

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

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

ED Seeks Peer Reviewers

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

First Lady Highlights Career Pathway Efforts in Vermont

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

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

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

Senate HELP Committee Seeks Input on ESRA

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

ED Proposes New Title IX Rule

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

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Lawmakers Continue to Negotiate FY23 While House Examines Youth Apprenticeships 

Friday, September 16th, 2022

This past week, lawmakers continued to negotiate federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding while the House hosted a hearing about youth apprenticeship’s role in supporting small businesses. Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) made a number of announcements this week related to teacher preparation, assessments and more. 

Congress Negotiates a Continuing Resolution

As shared previously, federal legislators recently returned to Capitol Hill for a three-week work period before the upcoming midterm elections. While there are many legislative items lawmakers hope to attend to during this time, providing more time to complete the federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) appropriations process is the top priority at the moment. As a reminder, the federal fiscal year begins on October 1. Both the House and Senate have thus far been unable to find agreement on the 12 individual spending bills that fund federal operations and programs. Consequently, Congress is currently quickly negotiating a continuing resolution (CR)—short-term legislation that will extend current fiscal year 2022 (FY22) funding levels for a specific period of time.

At present, the CR will likely extend current FY22 funding levels for all federal operations and programs, like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), until sometime after the midterm elections. Lawmakers are currently debating whether to include a variety of other provisions, including supplemental funding for the natural disasters, the war in Ukraine, and environmental permitting to this legislation. These talks are fluid and expected to continue through next week. Advance CTE expects a CR to extend current FY22 funding levels until mid-December. As these talks continue, our organization will continue to advocate for robust investments in Perkins V, including other federal Career Technical Education (CTE) funding priorities.

House Hosts Youth Apprenticeship Hearing

On September 15, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development held a hearing entitled “Back to School, Back to Startups: Supporting Youth Apprenticeship, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development.” The hearing focused on the impact the pandemic has had on small businesses and strategies to help these firms identify and hire the talent they need to be successful. The hearing highlighted testimony from Noel Ginsburg, the Founder and CEO of CareerWise, a national organization focused on promoting youth apprenticeship, as well as Shani Watkins, the Director of West Sounds Technical Skills Center, an area technical center located in Bremerton, Washington. 

During the hearing lawmakers explored a wide variety of innovative workforce development strategies targeted at youth that can provide important on-ramps from secondary  education into the labor force. Watkins in particular highlighted the importance of CTE for ensuring youth workforce success and emphasized the critical need to foster meaningful partnerships with employers. The hearing also highlighted the urgent need to expand federal financial aid and support for these programs and wider efforts. An archive of the hearing can be found here

ED Announces New Teacher Grants

On Monday, September 12, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced $25 million in new awards intended to support teacher recruitment, retention, diversification, and preparation efforts. The Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program’s latest round of grants will make 22 five-year investments in several institutions of higher education intended to fund teacher preparation programs in high-needs communities throughout the country. More information on the announcement can be found here.

ED Issues Assessment Letter

On Tuesday, September 13, ED circulated a Dear Colleague letter to Chief State School Officers regarding the upcoming release of state assessment data from the 2021-22 school year. In anticipation of these releases, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona reiterated best practices for using and interpreting assessment data. The letter goes on to encourage states to use these results in a “constructive” manner. The letter can be found here.

DOJ to Appeal Title IX Ruling

Also on Tuesday, September 13, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that they intend to appeal a recent federal court ruling temporarily blocking the Biden Administration from implementing its recently issued proposed rules to help schools, districts and institutions implement the requirements of Title IX. These rules have recently been available for public comment which garnered nearly 146,000 individual pieces of feedback. The full appeal can be found here.

ED Releases Title IV-A Guidance

Yesterday, September 15, ED released new guidance to implement the recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA)—legislation intended to help reduce gun violence in schools. Among the provisions contained in the BSCA was an additional, supplementary investment of $1 billion in ESSA’s Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program. These one-time supplementary funds are intended to help schools and districts provide for safer and healthier learning environments for students and have additional requirements for their use. The guidance provides important details regarding how these funds—which were released yesterday— can and should be spent for these purposes. Read the letter here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Walsh Testifies on FY23 as FCC Releases New Funding

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Over the last two weeks, the U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh testified before Congress on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request while lawmakers in the House advanced FY23 appropriations legislation with implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) funding. Advance CTE also endorsed legislation aimed at promoting career awareness this week, while the Senate held a hearing on the pandemic’s impact on students’ learning. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission disbursed additional connectivity funds as part of a wider effort to provide affordable access to high-quality internet connections and devices, while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published new rules for Title IX. 

Labor Secretary Walsh Testifies on USDOL FY23 Budget Request 

Last week U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh testified before the House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding his Department’s FY23 budget request. Secretary Walsh and members of the committees discussed a wide range of topics including apprenticeship programs and other issues impacting workforce development efforts. Archived webcasts of these hearings, including testimony, can be found here and here

House Lawmakers Release and Markup FY23 Education Funding Bill

On Thursday, June 23, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing to consider and markup the FY23 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Bill. If enacted the bill would provide a 13 percent increase for ED and a nearly 12 percent increase for DOL over FY22 enacted funding levels. According to a preliminary summary document from the committee, the legislation proposes a $45 million increase for the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins V) basic state grant program a 3.3 percent increase over FY22 enacted levels. The bill would also provide an additional $75 million for Student Support and Academic Enrichment state grants– a program authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act.  In addition, the legislation proposes significant increases to core formula programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as well as for apprenticeship programs. 

Late Thursday evening the subcommittee advanced this legislation by voice vote for further consideration by the full House Appropriations Committee—a next step that is currently scheduled for June 30. An archive webcast of the markup, including bill text, can be found here. Additional details about this spending package are still forthcoming and Advance CTE anticipates having additional clarity regarding the committee’s priorities next week ahead of the full committee markup. 

Advance CTE Endorses Career Counseling and Awareness Legislation 

This week, Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced the Creating Opportunities to Thrive and Advance Act (COTA)– legislation that, if enacted, would expand career counseling and awareness efforts funded by WIOA. Specifically, the legislation would allow certain WIOA funds to be used to allow for public outreach efforts highlighting CTE programs that lead to in-demand occupations and sectors. Advance CTE endorsed this legislation this week with the organization’s Executive Director Kimberly Green commenting, in part, “Understanding the career options available in high-growth, high-wage and in-demand fields is crucial for success in today’s economy. Advance CTE commends the introduction of this legislation which will promote awareness of the Career Technical Education programs that lead to these opportunities, helping to ensure more learners are empowered to pursue rewarding careers now and in the future.” More information about the bill can be found here.

Senate HELP Committee Holds Pandemic Learning Hearing

On Wednesday, June 22, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing titled “Supporting Students and Schools: Promising Practices to Get Back on Track.” The hearing focused on the impact of the pandemic on student learning and how schools are working to reverse student learning loss and get them back on track. During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) raised the issue of teacher shortages in critical areas such as CTE. She noted, in part, that “in Nevada, we’re hearing that we have about 1500 CTE educator positions, currently unfilled due to insufficient resources” and asked witnesses how best this persistent challenge could be addressed moving forward. An archived webcast, including witness testimony, can be accessed here

ED Proposes New Title IX Rule

On Thursday, June 23, the U.S. Department of Education proposed a set of changes to Title IX regulations—rules that are intended to prohibit sex discrimination at federally funded schools. The announcement coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Title IX and would expand these protections for transgender students among a host of other changes that determine how K-12 and postsecondary institutions must respond to complaints of sexual discrimination, harassment, or assault. The proposal will be published on the Federal Register soon, with ED inviting the public to comment and provide feedback on the proposal. In the meantime, an unofficial version of the proposal can be accessed here.

ED Hosts Pathways Event

On Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Department of Education hosted a virtual event titled “Pathways in Action.” The event convened experts and stakeholders including community colleges, employers, school districts, workforce development boards, and community-based organizations to share perspectives and best practices for how to advance high-quality career and college pathways for more learners. The event also emphasized the various roles that federal agencies have in implementing these pathways efforts as well as identifying areas where more improvements are needed to ensure that each learner can benefit from these opportunities. The convening is part of ED’s wider efforts to promote a proposed “Career Connected High Schools” initiative as part of its FY23 budget request. More on the event can be found here.  

DOL Hosts Good Jobs Summit 

Also on Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Department of Labor hosted a “Good Jobs” summit– a full day event highlighting how the Biden Administration is administering and prioritizing job quality through federal investments. The summit featured the release of a “Good Jobs Principles” which identifies specific aspects of what constitutes quality employment. Launched at the start of 2022 and led by DOL, the Good Jobs initiative is a multi-agency effort to promote and improve quality employment opportunities for more workers. More information can be found here. In addition to these efforts, President Biden recently announced a Talent Pipeline Challenge which encourages stakeholders to commit to supporting workforce development efforts, including aspects of these ongoing initiatives. 

FCC Announces New Funding Commitments

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the first wave of funding commitments from its most recent third filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). Created as part of the American Rescue Plan, the ECF Program allows eligible schools and libraries to apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity to serve unmet needs of students, school staff, and library patrons at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Securing initial funding for the ECF was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities during the public health emergency. This new wave of funding includes over $244 million in funds to support 259 schools, 24 libraries and 1 consortium. $5.1 billion in total funding has been approved to date as part of previous ECF funding windows.  

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Playbook Offers Upskilling Models to Help Companies, Employees and Communities

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

UpSkill America, part of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, recently released its Upskilling Playbook. This document highlights promising practices and examples of employer upskilling strategies, and offers guidance on how other employers can implement these practices. Through upskilling, an employer can invest in the long-term competitiveness and success by encouraging existing employees to gain new skills and advance through a company. Research shows that upskilling can help company bottom lines, and increase employee retention, as most employees expect some version of upskilling as a benefit of employment.

The playbook offers several models for companies to adopt, including apprenticeship, pre-employment training, as well as providing support and incentives for completion of certifications and postsecondary degrees. One example cited is Amazon’s Career Choice Program, which will pre-pay 95% of tuition and fees for an employee to earn a certificate or associate degree in a high-demand occupation.

Even companies who already provide tuition assistance may not be fully realizing the potential of upskilling, according to recent research carried about by UpSkill America. Many companies see these benefits merely as recruitment tools when looking for new hires. The playbook argues that companies should imbed upskilling as a cornerstone of company culture.

Report Explores Effective Teacher Professional Development Models

A new report from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) explores the question of effective professional development for teachers through a review of 35 methodologically rigorous studies that have demonstrated a positive link between teacher professional development, teaching practices, and student outcomes. Their research found that effective professional development, including professional learning communities, incorporates the following elements:

Unfortunately, realities within institutions can hinder effective professional development, including insufficient resources (in both time and funding), as well as a poor school climate. LPI recommends evaluating the use and time of school schedules to create more opportunities for professional learning, as well as regularly conducting needs assessments and gathering feedback from educators to determine the areas of highest need for professional learning.

Odds and Ends

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has been creating and compiling resources related to foster, juvenile justice and crossover youth. Included in those resources are several recorded webinars detailing promising practices in providing career pathways for systems-involved youth. While there are many challenges and barriers to success for these youth and the organizations devoted to helping them, several institutions have uncovered some promising strategies worth exploring further.

The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) recently released a report about the history and progress of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs. While the report covers many topics, there is an entire section devoted to gender disparities Career Technical Education (CTE). The report finds that though progress has been made in CTE, large gaps remain, and there is certainly more work to be done.

Two publications have recently ranked institutions that effectively fight the nation’s skills gap. The first, from The New York Times, describes seven postsecondary institutions that take innovative approaches to supporting students through completion. The second, from Forbes, ranks two-year institutions based on the same “return on investment” focus of their rankings of four-year institutions.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By admin in Uncategorized
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Bipartisan Interest in Perkins Grows with Pending Legislation on the Hill

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

As we shared earlier this summer, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Act last month with a 37-0 vote. Prior to and after the introduction of this reauthorization proposal, members from both houses of Congress have continued to introduce legislation to make their priorities for Career Technical Education (CTE) known. Three bills of interest — two in the Senate and one in the House — aim to expand dual credit opportunities for CTE students, increase representation of nontraditional genders in high-wage career pathways, and equip students with the skills they need to be successful in the workforce. While these bills have little chance of advancing further on their own, they do represent areas of interest for members as Perkins reauthorization continues to take shape in Congress.

The Workforce Advance Act (S. 3271)

Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in July introduced the Workforce Advance Act, which aims to expand dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities for CTE students across the country. According to Sen. Bennet, dual and concurrent enrollment strategies have “helped more [Colorado students] enroll and do well in college.” The bill would amend the permissible uses of Perkins funds at the state and local levels to include tuition, books, fees and transportation costs for students completing dual or concurrent enrollment courses. The bill would also allow Perkins funds to be used for professional development costs for teachers seeking to obtain credentials needed to teach these courses. At the national level, the Workforce Advance Act would allow the Department of Education to use CTE national activities to research strategies for expanding dual or concurrent enrollment programs in high schools.

The Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act of 2016 (S. 3417)

Citing gender disparity in high-wage career pathways, the Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act aims to help schools fully implement Title IX, a federal law that prevents sex discrimination in education. The bill, introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), would create an Office for Gender Equity under the Department of Education that would be responsible for helping educational entities in their implementation of Title IX. The Office would provide technical assistance, share best practices, administer a new competitive grant program and more. Under the bill, the Office would also be responsible for training Title IX coordinators annually.

The Four C’s for Careers Act (H.R. 5663)

And in the House, Representative Ryan Costello (R-PA) introduced legislation to promote what he calls the “four C’s CTE providers should promote in their curriculum: critical thinking, communications, collaboration, and creativity.” According to Rep. Costello, these are the skills that industry leaders say will best prepare students for success in the workforce. The bill, a bipartisan piece of legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), would amend Perkins to promote these four skills through a number of educational strategies, including blended learning, public-private partnerships, and data-driven career counseling. The bill would also encourage participation with local industry leaders by allowing states to use Perkins funds for a needs assessment to identify the strategies, tools and resources needed to promote greater engagement with industry partners.

While Advance CTE has not endorsed these proposals, we will continue to work with these offices to ensure that some of these key concepts find their way into future Perkins legislation. Stay tuned for future updates on all things Perkins as the 114th Congress heads into its final stretch.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By admin in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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