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Immigration Bill Has Implications for CTE


June 24, 2013


Immigration Bill Has Implications for CTE

Throughout the spring, Congress has been involved in numerous discussions about a comprehensive immigration bill. The Senate is current debating its bill, S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. While the majority of this bill has no direct impact on CTE, there are a few elements with key implications.

First, ACTE is working with Sen. Wyden to on an amendment he is offering to the bill related to occupational data. To capture a better understanding of the modern workforce and how to improve the education to workforce pipeline, Sen. Wyden is proposing that occupation data be added to the wage records provided by employers in order to administer the unemployment insurance (UI) program. If this amendment were to be approved and ultimately enacted, CTE programs would have access to administrative data about whether or not their students were placed in employment opportunities related to their training. Currently, the only way to get this information in most of the country is through surveys. Adding an occupational code to UI wage records would be a much more efficient and effective way to collect such data. Read the letter we signed in support of the amendment here.

Second, the bill provides new resources for STEM education by establishing a STEM Education and Training Account funded by fees related to immigrant employment visas. The new account would provide funding to STEM-related education programs, including in the CTE areas of engineering and IT. A large portion of the available funding (70%) would be directed to general activities in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary STEM programs, with an additional 5% for statewide workforce development programs in STEM areas.

Finally, there are new reports of the possible inclusion of a summer jobs program in one of the amendments currently being negotiated. The new program, designed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is modeled after the American Jobs Act, and titled "Jobs for Youth." It would provide $1.5 billion from guest worker and green card fees to states to develop summer jobs programs for individuals age 16-24. The goal of the program is to offset any potential negative repercussions of the overall bill on youth employment opportunities.

ACTE will be following the bill closely as debate wraps up in the Senate, and also weighing in on related activities in the House as they develop.

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