Workforce Investment Act
In the summer of 2014, Republicans and Democrats reached a bipartisan, bicameral deal to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 as P.L. 113-128, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The bill was signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2014. The latest updates can be found on the WIOA section of the CTE Policy Watch blog.
The Department of Education has solicited comments and input from a variety of stakeholders related to WIOA implementation, which ACTE and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium provided a joint response to. The Department of Labor has since released a statement that the draft regulations related to the law's implementation would be delayed until spring, when it plans to release additional Notices of Proposed Rulemaking. ACTE is in the process of developing resources and information to assist its members in implementing this landmark legislation.
To learn more about available resources for WIOA implementation, please visit the WIOA section of the CTE Policy Watch Blog.
In addition, please visit the following websites for more information:
Congress passed the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in 1998 as P.L. 105-220. It replaced the Job Training Partnership Act in an effort to streamline and strengthen America's job-training system. Taking full effect on July 1, 2000, WIA was intended to create a locally integrated "One-Stop" delivery system of multiple employment services, job training and education programs, designed to be universally accessible to job seekers and meet local industry demands in communities across the county. WIA mandated the participation of partner agencies that provide such services, including postsecondary Perkins-funded CTE programs.
Implementation of WIA worked well in some local areas, but, overall, there has been a downward trend in the provision of employment services, particularly in the number of job seekers being referred to training programs. WIA was due for reauthorization in 2003, however, the legislation encountered significant delays as Congress struggled to design an effective way to utilize the one-stop model and was mired in partisan politics. However, in May 2014, leaders from both chambers of Congress reached a deal to incorporate components from previous failed attempts into a successful bill, which passed the full Senate on June 25 by a vote of 95-3 and the House on July 9 by a vote of 415-6. President Barack Obama signed WIOA into law on July 22, 2014, however, the majority of the provisions included in the legislation will not go into effect until July 1, 2015 or later.
Policy and Advocacy
Building Relationships With Policymakers
Developing a good relationship with your local and federal policymakers
and their staffs is one of the most important and effective tools in
advocating for career and technical education and influencing the
legislative process. As an education professional, you need to develop
an ongoing relationship with policymakers at all levels to ensure that
you are involved in decision making from the start.
All policymakers want and need to hear from the constituents who are impacted by their decisions.
Hosting Site Visits for Policymakers
You have a superb CTE program. NOW is the time to show it off for your
public officials. Your policymakers’ understanding will go a long way
with an up-close and personal tour of programs. These are the people who
can help you EXPAND and IMPROVE your program by ensuring funding and
effective policies. A successful tour needs meticulous planning.
ACTE has developed 10 STEPS to help you conduct a successful legislative tour of your school:
Before you begin any planning, get permission from school officials. Keep everyone informed.
What type of impression do you want the policymaker to have of your school? What programs do you want to highlight? Brainstorm and select the most important features you want to show off.
DEVELOP A DRAFT AGENDA
Most importantly, make sure school is in session for the tour. Plan a short and concise introductory presentation about the school and programs the policymaker will see. Following the brief presentation, schedule an organized tour.
Now that you have your agenda, the next step is to invite your targeted policymakers. Fax or mail a brief letter to the policymaker at his or her local office at least six weeks before the scheduled date (you can find contact information for your federal Members of Congress by visiting ACTE’s Legislative Action Center). Briefly introduce yourself, your program, and state the purpose of the letter. Explain why you would like the official to visit your program (to see how an example of a CTE program can work in the community, the importance of supporting such initiatives, etc.). Include specific information about the visit (date, time, location, others who may be invited, whether the media will be invited, what activities are planned for the visit). Public officials have very busy schedules, so you’ll need to be as flexible and accommodating as possible.
FOLLOW UP WITH THE SCHEDULER
The policymakers’s scheduler should be contacted seven to 10 days after you have mailed the letter. You should keep in mind that you need to be flexible with the date and tour arrangements. You should take every step to accommodate the policymaker. NOTE: Federal legislators will most likely be in their home districts Mondays, Fridays, and on the weekends.
DETERMINE PRESS ACTIVITIES
Work with the policymaker’s press secretary, if they have one, to determine appropriate press activities. Send a press release to the local media inviting them to attend the tour. In addition to giving the policymaker publicity, it will increase the community’s interest in your program. Be sure to follow up with the media to make sure that they attend since the policymaker will be expecting them! Take plenty of photographs. If you are unable to have the media present during the tour, send the local reporters a follow-up summary and a photograph for their use. (ACTE can help you with your media activities! Please visit the "Targeting the Media" section of ACTE's Action Center.
CONDUCT THE TOUR
The day has finally arrived! When the policymaker and his or her staff arrive, distribute descriptions of your programs, success stories about students and any other relevant information you feel promotes your program. Make sure that your name, address and phone number are on every document so staff can contact you later. Let the policymaker know the scope of the program: how many people you serve and what impacts the program has on families, the community, local businesses and the local economy. Explain why continued funding for CTE is important to students, jobseekers and businesses in the state or district. Encourage interaction between the policymaker and students. It is helpful for policymakers to make connections with those who benefit from the program and see the changes in people’s lives that good CTE programs make.
Have a few supporters present, such as parents, students and business partners, to help you make the case.
MAKE YOUR PITCH
Emphasize how additional resources could benefit students. While you have the policymaker’s undivided attention, make a pitch for support. Ask the lpolicymaker to support your programs through increased funding and effective policies. Remember to be specific if current legislation is pending.
Congratulations! You conducted a successful tour, but you have another important step to take. Before you do anything else, make sure you:
Send thank you letters to the policymaker and any staff who attended, reiterating the need for additional funding and more effective policies for your program.
Include copies of press coverage.
Include a photo of the policymakers with your students and supporters to remind them how important CTE is to your community.
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