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CTE Policy Watch

House Passes Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization



By: Brendan

The House of Representatives voted this morning to pass the Strengthening Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act. The final bill contains several controversial measures, including consolidating 35 workforce training programs into a single block grant controlled by state governors and eliminating all required representation on workforce boards except for business. The SKILLS Act also allows for the direct contracting of training services with community colleges and establishing common performance measures across the workforce system.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), stated during the final debate “the state of today’s workforce system is unmanageable” and the SKILLS Act would allow state and local leaders and workforce boards to be “much better informed and equipped to serve the needs of local job seekers.”

Before voting on the final bill, Members of the House were allowed to submit final amendments to the bill. Three amendments were adopted by a voice vote, including amendments for advanced manufacturing for veterans; funding set asides for native Americans, Hawaiians and Alaskans; and the addition of an application process for local areas to apply for recognition by the state workforce board.

The House Democrats also submitted an amendment to substitute the entirety of the SKILLS Act with the Democrats Workforce Investment Act reauthorization bill. The substitute was the only amendment to receive a recorded vote, and failed by a vote of 192-227.

Although the SKILLS Act passed the House, it is highly unlikely that it will be brought up for consideration in the Senate . Instead, the Senate may choose to draft its own version of a Workforce Investment Act reauthorization, which, if passed by the Senate, will need to be reconciled with the SKILLS Act to create a compromise bill.

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Administration’s Budget Proposal Restores Sequester Cut to CTE Funding but Still Falls Short of Need

Earlier today, the Obama Administration released its budget proposal for FY 2014. This document, normally released in February but delayed due to the other fiscal issues in play this spring, outlines the Administration's spending priorities for the coming year.

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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