House Passes Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization
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
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.
CTE Policy Watch Blog
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
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