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CTE Policy Watch

Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization Introduced In House


February 22, 2013
By: Brendan
Last Friday, February 15, Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) introduced the House Democrat's Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization bill, H.R. 798. Following the Democratic bill, House Republicans released their version, Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, on February 21.
In the 112th Congress, the House Education and the Workforce Committee was able to pass a WIA reauthorization bill. The bill would have consolidated 27 different workforce programs into a single "workforce investment fund," which would be given to each state as a block grant. The fund would have been controlled by each state's governor, who could decide which workforce programs to fund based on state needs.
The Democratic bill supports several of ACTE's WIA reauthorization priorities set in December 2012, including:
  • Direct contracting with education providers for high-demand training programs.
  • Eliminating the "sequence of services" provision to speed access to training.
  • Authorizing programs to increase the capacity of training programs.
  • Use common measures and share data across federal programs.
  • Incorporating sector strategies to better coordinate decisions about skilled workforce needs.
  • Establishing a separate line-item for infrastructure needs.
  • Ensure continued dedicated funding for youth activities.
The new Republican bill is very similar to their previous legislation. Specifically, the SKILLS Act hopes to improve the federal workforce system by:
  • Consolidating 35 workforce programs into a single "workforce investment fund" controlled by the state governors.
  • Allowing direct contracting between local workforce boards and community colleges for high-demand training programs.
  • Emphasizing industry-recognized credentials as an outcome.
  • Eliminating the "sequence of services" provision to speed access to training.
  • Requiring state and local leaders to adhere to common performance measures.
  • Ensuring two-thirds of workforce board members are employers and removing other mandates for required members.
  • Regularly conduct analyses of area workforce needs, including economic conditions, knowledge and skills of workers and existing workforce development activities. 
With Republicans in the majority, the Education and Workforce Committee will use the SKILLS Act as the starting point for any discussion or amendments in a committee markup. ACTE has been working cosely with a number of offices on Capitol Hill discussing our priorities and will continue to do so as this legislation moves forward.


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Duncan Talks 2014 Budget on Capitol Hill

8/12/13 By: Mitch Following the release of President Obama’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget request on Wednesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appeared before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to defend the Administration’s plan for funding education in the coming fiscal year. In the budget proposal, the Administration suggests funding Perkins at 1.1 billion, equal to FY 2012 levels, before sequestration. Additionally, the budget proposes a $10 million increase for the National Programs line item which is designated for a new dual enrollment program focused on career preparation. Despite requests for an overall increase in education funding, the Administration's budget does not prioritize additional investments to meet the growing needs in CTE. During the hearing on Thursday, both Republican and Democratic members of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations subcommittee expressed apprehensions about the Administration’s strong focus on increasing funding for competitive grant programs. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), ranking-member of the subcommittee, talked about her concern for formula-funded education programs, like Perkins, which largely did not receive increases in funding. “The emphasis on competitive funding I find troubling,” said DeLauro. “What is need is steady secure funding for all of our schools to move toward improvement.” Federal investments in education must be directed to those areas with a proven track record of success that provide all students with equal access and opportunity. Members of the subcommittee will now begin to draft an appropriations bill that will fund Perkins in FY 2014. Let Congress know that it is time to make investing in Perkins a priority!

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