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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

Biden Unveils Sweeping Federal Job Training Review

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July 22, 2014

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Biden Unveils Sweeping Federal Job Training Review

Following his announcement in his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama issued a presidential order in January instructing Vice President Biden to oversee a review of federal job training programs. The vice president’s charge was to work in consultation with the heads of other executive agencies, including the secretaries of labor and education, to develop an action plan with key policy recommendations. Today, the White House released the “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity” report that outlines the wide-ranging findings and recommendations of the vice president’s review.

One important development highlighted throughout the report is the new job-driven checklist, which includes seven features that have been identified as essential components of job-driven training. The checklist was developed to help guide the Administration’s actions in implementing and overseeing federal training programs. Starting October 1, 2014, all applicants for 25 annual competitive training grant programs across federal agencies will be required to incorporate and follow the new checklist.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed into law by the president earlier today, will require states to develop unified plans across all WIOA authorized programs. The Departments of Labor and Education will ask states to incorporate the job-driven checklist into the new unified plan. Under WIOA, states are also required to collect information on the employment and earnings outcomes of all students from eligible training providers. The Administration will no longer issue waivers for these requirements, as it has in the past, and will begin developing a new scorecard that training providers will use to display and disseminate their performance outcomes.

Other CTE-related initiatives highlighted in the report include the creation of an online skills academy, to be launched by the Department of Labor, which will offer open online courses of study that create free or low-cost pathways to degrees, certificates and other employer-recognized credentials. The Administration will competitively award $25 million in funds to a consortium to develop the project in 2015.

The Department of Education plans to issue regulatory waivers for “experimental sites” that will provide greater flexibility in the use of federal student aid for programs that utilize competency-based education models. The department also plans to expand existing pilot projects that allow for the use of Pell grants to aid students in short-term training programs that address critical local workforce needs.

In addition, the Department of Education will launch the Career Pathways Exchange, an online information dissemination service that will give all states and interested stakeholders access to resources and guidance to develop, expand and strengthen their career pathways systems. Additionally, the department is committing to invest in up to 10 states to further integrate CTE into broader career pathways system development at the state and local levels.

The report cites a number of the Administration’s initiatives that have previously been announced or are already underway, including the American Apprenticeship Grant, Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth, Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium (RACC), Pathways to Careers for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Demonstration Project and Training Paraprofessionals for the Health Workforce Grants, among others.

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