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House subcommittee takes important first step toward meeting commitment to U.S. businesses and workers

 Earlier this week, the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services and Related Agencies (L-HHS) Subcommittee released – and advanced to the full committee – their draft Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) spending bill, which would increase funding for workforce and education programs to or slightly above authorized funding levels.

This increase would represent the first time appropriators met their commitment to workers and businesses under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and fully funded a program that helps workers get the skills businesses need for 21st century jobs. This important investment would support vital workforce and education programs that have sustained consistent underinvestment for decades.

During the mark-up, Chairwoman of the full Appropriations Committee, Nita Lowey (D-NY), focused on the importance of investing in workforce development and education that matches workers with skills necessary to fill open jobs and both Republicans and Democrats touched on the importance of these programs.

These increases are in large part consistent with the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce’s letter to House appropriators on FY2020 funding levels, on which National Skills Coalition joined more than 30 other national organizations to urge appropriators to adequately invest in workforce and education programming.

These increases are also overwhelmingly popular with likely 2020 voters – 93% of whom support investments in skills – and small and mid-size business owners – 79% of whom support new, public investment in skills.

Tell you members of Congress today – it’s time to meet the commitment made to businesses and workers and adequately fund workforce and education programs.

Department of Labor

The draft bill would increase funding for DOL by $1.2 billion, $709 million of which would fund programs under the Employment and Training Administration. It would fund Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I Formula State Grants for Youth and Adults at slightly higher than authorized levels, and would increase funding across Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth funding of more than $400 million. This increase would be the first time Congress funds state grants at authorized levels since WIOA passed with overwhelming support in 2014. Since 2001, WIOA Title I state formula grants have been cut by nearly 40%, so this increased to authorized levels is an important recognition of the important role the workforce system plays in meeting business demand and worker need.

The bill would add $2million to funding, up to $8 million, for Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grants and $90 million to apprenticeship funding, increasing it to $250 million for FY2020. The bill included increased funding for national programs under WIOA, including a $10 million increase for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker programs and an increase of nearly $30 million, to $127 million, for YouthBuild.

The draft also included several of Democrats’ policy priorities. It would create a new $150 million national grant program, using Dislocated Worker National Grant funds, to support workforce development provided at community and technical colleges and would allocate $25 million of funding from the Reentry Program to support intermediaries helping returning citizens develop in-demand skills. From the $250 million for apprenticeship, the bill would allocate 20 percent of funds to local and national organizations to help expand programming and 50 percent of funding to states, consistent with the way DOL has spent this appropriation in previous years.

Department of Education

The Subcommittee draft would increase funding for the Department of Education by $4.4 billion, up to $75 billion. It includes a $37.4 million increase to Perkins Career and Technical Education state grants, funding them at $1.3 billion. Congress passed – with overwhelming support – a new CTE bill last year, Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, and this proposed increased comes after bipartisan support for increased investments in CTE in the FY2019 appropriations package. CTE programs have been cut by nearly 30 percent since 2001, and this proposed increase would help reverse the trend of disinvestment.

The bill would also increase Adult Education and Family Literacy Act State Grants by $22.6 million to $664,555,000. Adult Education funding has been cut by nearly 20 percent since 2001, and these increases would be vital to scaling services to more than 36 million Americans with low basic skills, including 24 million who are currently in the workforce.

The max Pell award would be increased by $150 dollars, bringing the total for the 2020-2021 school year to $5,285.

What’s Next

The House is moving forward with mark ups for appropriations bills, using top line numbers set by House Democrats earlier this spring in absence of a bicameral budget resolution, and the full appropriations committee is expected to hear the L-HHS bill, and announce each subcommittee’s official 302(b) allocation, as early as next week.

Senate Appropriators have suggested the Senate will not move forward on individual appropriations bills until the Senate and House are able to agree to a budget deal that will raise budget caps – and avoid sequestration – imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA).

Leadership is continuing to work towards a two-year budget agreement to cover FY2020 and 2021, the final two years to which BCA will apply. This agreement could be – as it has been in years past – coupled with an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, for which the Department of Treasure announced earlier this week it will exhaust extraordinary measures to avoid reaching in late Summer. Linking budget and debt ceiling negotiations may make it easier for members of both parties to support a slight increase in funding above FY2019 levels, but final funding is unlikely to be as high as the numbers proposed in the House bill this week.

Tell your policy makers today – it’s time to meet your commitment to workers and businesses. Invest in workforce and education today!

Also this week, Secretary Acosta testified in front of the House Education & Labor (Ed & Labor) Committee on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) priorities for FY2020. In his testimony, the Secretary recognized multiple times that the U.S. has underinvested in middle-skill jobs – and pathways that don’t include a four-year degree.

NSC and our partners in the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce will continue to advocate for critical investments in workforce and education and Congress continues the FY2020 appropriations process.

 

  FY 2020 – Authorized Levels Current Levels - FY 2019 FY2020 House Labor-HHS Subcommittee Change FY 2019-House L-HHS bill
Department of Labor
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I – State Formula Grants N/A $2,789,832,000 $2,967,360,000 N/A
WIOA Adult $899,987,000 $845,556,000  $900,000,000 $54,444,000
WIOA Dislocated Worker $1,436,137,000* $1,040,860,000 $1,103,360,000 $62,500,000
WIOA Youth $963,837,000 $903,416,000 $964,000,000 $60,584,000
Wagner-Peyser/Employment Service Grants N/A   $663,052,000 $680,000,000   $16,948,000
Workforce Data Quality Initiative grants N/A $6,000,000 $8,000,000 $2,000,000
Apprenticeship Grants N/A $160,000,000 $250,000,000 $90,000,000
DW N/AtioN/Al Reserve N/A $220,859,000 $370,859,000 $150,000,000
N/Ative American Programs $54,137,000 $54,500,000 $55,000,000 $500,000
Ex-Offender Activities N/A $93,079,000 $100,000,000 $6,921,000
Migrant and SeasoN/Al Farmworkers $96,211,000 $88,896,000 $98,896,000 $10,000,000
Youth Build $91,087,000 $89,534,000 $127,500,000 $37,966,000
Senior Community Service Employment Program N/A $400,000,000 $463,800,000 $63,800,000
JobCorps $1,983,236,000 $1,718,655,000 $1,868,655,000 $150,000,000
Trade Adjustment Assistance $450,000,000 $450,000,000 $450,000,000 N/A
Department of Education
Career and Technical Education State Grants N/A $1,262,598,000 $1,300,000,000 $37,400,000
Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants $678,640,000 $641,955,000 $664,555,000 $22,600,000
Posted In: Federal Funding, Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce

Two National Skills Coalition-backed higher education bills land in the Senate

  ·   By Katie Brown
Two National Skills Coalition-backed higher education bills land in the Senate

Yesterday, we reached a crucial milestone in our effort to modernize the Higher Education Act. Two bills that will work hand-in-hand to make higher education work better for students and employers were introduced in the Senate—the College Transparency Act and the Jumpstarting our Businesses to Support Students (JOBS) Act.

The goal of the College Transparency Act is to provide students with complete information about the success rates of all postsecondary programs—including those that are short-term—while the JOBS Act would expand federal financial aid to those short-term programs that are proven to be high-quality; a move that is supported by 86 percent of Americans. Together, these bills will give students, parents, employers and policymakers peace of mind when it comes to ensuring access and quality of postsecondary programs across all lengths and disciplines.

These bipartisan bills have been met with broad support across multiple stakeholder groups. 10 state higher education systems have signed onto a letter supporting these measures—which are in line with National Skills Community College Compact. Additionally, both bills are supported by several national organizations, including the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Advance CTE, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Jobs for the Future (JFF), National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE), and Young Invincibles.

A recent Business Leaders United poll of small and medium-sized businesses showed that small and medium-sized businesses overwhelmingly support more investment in skills training with 66% supporting making user-friendly data available so that employers can see which post-secondary programs are giving students the skills they need for existing jobs (CTA) and 64% supporting making federal financial aid available to anyone seeking skills training, not just those seeking college degrees (JOBS).

NSC continues to advocate for the inclusion of these complementary bills in any comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization put forth by the House and Senate.

JOBS Act

Visit our action center and download our fact sheet on the JOBS Act

The bipartisan JOBS Act led by Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH) would modernize our nation’s higher education system by extending needs-based federal Pell grants to students enrolling in high-quality, short-term training programs offered by community and technical colleges. In today’s economy, 80 percent of jobs require some form of education or training beyond the high school level. Additionally, over half of all jobs can be classified as “middle-skill”—meaning they require more than a high school diploma but not a college degree. This demand for skills has driven more students, including non-traditional students, into the postsecondary education system than ever before, with the goal of getting the skills they need to compete in today’s economy.

Despite this well-documented need for skills, most federal financial aid made available to postsecondary students through the Higher Education Act (HEA) is reserved for programs that are at least 600 clock hours of instruction over a minimum of 15 weeks. This policy is at odds with the realities of today’s postsecondary education landscape, where many students, including workers looking to increase their skills, seek to enroll in sub-degree programs—such as those related to pipefitting, manufacturing and the electrical trades—that can lead to industry-recognized credentials. In fact, community college leaders have pointed out that the lack of federal financial aid for quality noncredit and short-term programs is preventing them from fully meeting the needs of students and employers.

To address this inequity, Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH) introduced the JOBS Act once again this Congress, which would:

  • Expand Pell grant eligibility to students enrolled in quality short-term education and training programs offered by public institutions of higher education that:
    • Are at least 150 clock hours over 8 weeks of instruction;
    • Provide training aligned with the needs of employers in a state or local area;
    • Are offered by an eligible training provider as defined by Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA);
    • Award program completers with an industry-valued credential;
    • Satisfy any applicable prerequisites for professional licensure or certification;
    • Have been evaluated by an accrediting agency for quality and student outcomes; and
    • Connect to a career pathway when applicable

NSC applauds Senators Kaine and Portman for working to modernize our nation’s higher education system and make it work better for students and employers.

College Transparency Act

Senators Warren (D-MA) and Cassidy (R-LA) and Representatives Mitchell (R-MI) and Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced the College Transparency Act—a bipartisan bill aimed at helping students, policymakers, educators and employers make informed decisions when it comes to postsecondary education.

Currently, the HEA prohibits the Department of Education from collecting data on all postsecondary students. The Department’s existing College Scorecard only includes students receiving federal aid in the calculation of key metrics, like post-college earnings. This presents an incomplete picture of how well higher education and training programs are serving students.

The College Transparency Act proposes to overturn the outdated prohibition on data collection while putting a number of safeguards in place to protect student privacy. More specifically, the bill:

  • Overturns the ban on student-level data collection in the Higher Education Act;
  • Creates a secure, privacy protected student-level data network within the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) using strong security standards and data governance protocols;
  • Accurately reports on student outcomes including enrollment, completion and post-college success across colleges and programs;
  • Leverages existing data at federal agencies and institutional data by matching a limited set of data to calculate aggregate information to answer questions critical to understanding and improving student success;
  • Protects all students by limiting data disclosures, prohibiting the sale of data, penalizing illegal data use, protecting vulnerable students, prohibiting the use of the data for law enforcement, safeguarding personally identifiable information, and requiring notice to students and regular audits of the system;
  • Streamlines burdensome federal reporting requirements for postsecondary institutions;
  • Provides information disaggregated by race, ethnicity and Pell Grant receipt status to identify inequities in students’ success;
  • Requires a user-friendly website to ensure the data are transparent, informative, and accessible for students, parents, policymakers, and employers; and
  • Feeds aggregate information back to states and institutions so they can develop and implement targeted, data-informed strategies aimed at supporting student success.

The College Transparency Act represents broad consensus among students, colleges and universities, employers, and policymakers that a secure, privacy-protected postsecondary student data system is the only way to give students the information they need to make informed college choices.  National Skills Coalition looks forward to working with the sponsors of CTA to advocate for this important legislative change.

Posted In: Federal Funding, Work Based Learning
Despite focus from the administration, budget falls short on much needed investment in workforce and education programs

In the Presidential Budget Request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, a portion of which was released yesterday, the administration calls for level funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I formula grants, Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, and work-based learning programs, and proposes to expand Pell to short-term programs consistent with the bipartisan JOBS Act and NSC priorities. The budget also proposes large cuts to adult basic education programs and elimination of many WIOA national programs.

In a proposal that cuts overall Nondefense Discretionary funding by 5 percent from last year’s levels, Department of Labor and the Department of Education bear disproportionate cuts at 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Level funding for workforce programs may look like a win in that context. But many of these programs have been drastically underfunded for decades. As we enter the final year of authorized funding levels in WIOA, level funding for critical programs isn’t enough – it’s time for serious investments.

We can't compete if we cut. Check out our funding cuts fact sheet.

The administration has made workforce and education a high-profile issue, with last week’s inaugural meeting of the  American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, the administration’s Pledge to America's Workers, support from Senior Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, for last year’s passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act and their focus on creating a new Industry-Recognized apprenticeship system.

Throughout these efforts, the administration has expressed laudable goals that are consistent with NSC’s 2019 Skills for Good Jobs Agenda.

  • At last week’s inaugural advisory board meeting, Senior Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump focused on the importance of increasing workforce participation and connecting workers to good paying jobs.
  • At the same meeting, the president recognized the link between business growth and workers’ success, “…we want to have the companies grow. And the only way they’re going to grow is if we give them the workers.”
  • At a meeting with the President and Cabinet-level Secretaries last year, Ivanka Trump described the workforce as  “our country’s greatest national asset”

But, the administration’s enthusiasm for skills training and workforce development isn’t matched with the kind of robust investments our economy requires. Instead of investing, the administration has proposed consolidating and eliminating programs. After nearly two decades of disinvestment, workers and businesses need significant new investment in skills and retention supports today to support the workforce of tomorrow.

Today’s budget recommends level funding or cuts for some important programs at a time when increases are crucial to rectifying past cuts and when 93% of voters support increased public investment in skills training.

If we’re really going to help workers make ends meet and businesses grow – it’s time to walk the talk.   

 

A Deeper Dive

As expected, President Trump’s budget requests funding for Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) programs at Budget Control Act (BCA) levels, about 5 percent lower than FY2019 spending. While Congress will likely, as in previous years, reject the harsh cuts President Trump proposes, members are likely to take note of his priorities: CTE, work-based learning and a repeated message around consolidating vital programs.

In recent years, Congress has reached two-year budget agreements setting top-line spending levels above those established in the BCA and is likely to do so again, later this year.

In the meantime, the House will move forward with their appropriations process, followed later by the Senate. With House Democrats in leadership for the first time in eight years, they’re likely to move forward with spending levels higher than the final budget agreement will enable. Their process, and the programs that receive the highest level of investment, however, offers insight into those they see as priorities in later bicameral negotiations.

Department of Labor

President Trump’s budget recommended a cut of 9.7 percent to DOL’s budget, stating that their highest priority is, “eliminating programs that are duplicative, unnecessary, unproven, or ineffective.”

Programs should be aligned, not eliminated.  This continued focus on consolidating workforce programs is detrimental to workers, businesses, and communities.

WIOA: The president’s budget requests level funding for WIOA Title I state formula grants and Wagner-Peyser Employment Service under Title III, a departure from the president’s initial request in FY2019 to cut programs by 40 percent. FY2020 is the final year for which the law includes authorized funding levels. Congress has never appropriated funding at those levels, and funding levels in FY2019 are 40 percent lower than funding in FY2001. A strong Congressional investment in WIOA in FY 2020 will be critical to continued innovation in states and local areas, especially as reauthorization conversations ramp up.

Despite the level formula funding request, the budget would cut or eliminate most of the national programs under Employment and Training Administration’s jurisdiction, except for apprenticeship grants. The proposal would cut $86 million from National Dislocated Worker national grants, $15 million from Reentry employment opportunities and $5 million from YouthBuild. It would eliminate funding for Indian and Native American Programs, Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Programs and Workforce Data Quality Initiative grants.

 

Apprenticeship: The request proposes $160 million investment in apprenticeship, consistent with enacted FY2019 levels. The budget, however, asks for the funding to support the expansion of industry-recognized apprenticeship, a new system DOL is in the process of implementing.  The administration also proposes a doubling of the fees associated with H-1B visas, a portion of which go to DOL to administer job training programs to train workers for industries that currently use H-1B visas. The new funds would be targeted to expanding the administration’s new Industry-Recognized apprenticeship system, with 15 percent of funds going to career and technical education programs administered by the Department of Education.

DOL has solicited grant proposals from partnerships between educational systems and businesses to expand IRAP, which would be funded by previous years’ H-1B visa fees, but has yet to award these grants. The call to use these funds to support local, industry-driven partnerships expanding work-based learning is consistent with the bipartisan PARTNERS Act.  

Department of Education

The president’s budget recommends cutting 12 percent of Department of Education’s budget.

Pell Grants: The President’s budget calls for funding necessary to support a maximum Pell grant of $6,195 and repeats a call in their original budget request from last year to cancel $2 billion unobligated balances in the Pell Grant program. It also includes a proposal to modernize the Pell grant program to meet the needs of working students, a concept that has been supported by Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and is consistent with the bipartisan JOBS Act. NSC is encouraged by the push to make postsecondary education more accessible for all students—especially considering that 86 percent of voters support making federal financial aid available for skills training.

Federal Work Study: The budget proposes to cut the Federal Work Study program by over 50 percent from current funding levels (from $1.1 billion to $500 million). The request justifies this substantial decrease by proposing to dramatically reform the FWS to support workforce and career-oriented training opportunities—including subsidized employment and paid internships—for low-income undergraduate students. This provision is consistent with the reforms made to the FWS program in the House proposed PROSPER Act.  The PROSPER Act, however, contained a $6 million increase for the FWS program to support this change.

CTE: Today’s budget recommended level funding for CTE state grants and a $20 million increase for CTE national programs. The budget, as discussed above, also includes a proposal to target 15% of their proposed increases in H-1B visa fees to Department of Education to allocate through formula grants to states and support career and technical education components of industry-recognized apprenticeship programs.  

Adult Education: Today’s budget recommends a cut of $150 million to the Adult Education and Family Literacy state grants, coupled with a $60 million increase in funding for national leadership activities. The administration would direct the leadership activities funds to support pre-apprenticeship programs to broaden the pipeline of workers with access to apprenticeship programs.

The proposed cuts to state grants outweigh the increase to national programs, seeming to undermine the administration’s goal of upskilling and reskilling the millions of Americans with basic skill needs.

The budget also proposes cutting the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program (SEOG), which supports low-income postsecondary students, and canceling the State Longitudinal data Systems grants that support state investments in educational data alignment.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

The President’s budget requests a 12 percent cut to the HHS budget and continues calls to expand work requirements for recipients of Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. While work requirements are relatively new to Medicaid programs, they have not been effective at connecting people to family-supporting jobs or lifting them out of poverty as used in TANF. They can be counterproductive, since they encourage workers to take low-wage jobs rather than building skills and credentials that can help them compete in today’s economy. There’s also no evidence that work requirements help meet employers’ need for skilled workers. 

The budget request does connect access to child care to workers’ ability to get a job or further education or job training, consistent with the bipartisan BUILDS Act and NSC priorities. The budget requests funding for a new $1 billion fund to support TANF recipient’s access to support for child care costs, however, appears to be created from savings associated with proposals to cut funding to TANF and the Emergency Contingency Fund and would not actually be additional funding to support child care costs.

Department of Agriculture

The budget proposes a 15 percent cut to the Department of Agriculture’s budget from FY2019 levels. The administration proposes expanded work requirements, something that was rejected by Congress during the recent Farm Bill reauthorization. As discussed above, NSC strongly opposes work requirements as they restrict recipients’ ability to access education and training necessary to move in to good jobs.

The proposal would cut overall funding to SNAP by more than $45 billion over 10 years if the proposal was enacted.

 

 

FY 2020 – Authorized Levels

Current Levels - FY 2019

FY 2020 President’s Budget Request

Change FY 2019-2020 Budget Request

Department of Labor

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I – State Formula Grants[1]

 

$2,789,832,000

$2,789,832,000

-

WIOA Adult

$899,987,000

$845,556,000

 $845,556,000

-

WIOA Dislocated Worker[2]

$1,436,137,000

$1,040,860,000

$1,040,860,000

-

WIOA Youth

$963,837,000

$903,416,000

$903,416,000

-

Wagner-Peyser/Employment Service Grants

NA

 

$663,052,000

$663,052,000

 

-

Workforce Data Quality Initiative grants

NA

$6,000,000

$0

-$6,000,000

Apprenticeship Grants

NA

$160,000,000

$160,000,000

-

DW National Reserve

NA

$220,859,000

$134,717,000

-$86,142,000

Native American Programs

$54,137,000

$54,500,000

0

-$54,500,000

Ex-Offender Activities

NA

$93,079,000

$78,324,000

-$14,755,000

Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers

$96,211,000

$88,896,000

0

-$88,896,000

Youth Build

$91,087,000

$89,534,000

$84,534,000

-$5,000,000

Senior Community Service Employment Program

NA

$400,000,000

0

-$400,000,000

JobCorps

$1,983,236,000

$1,718,655,000

$1,015,583,000

-$703,072,000

Trade Adjustment Assistance

$450,000,000

$450,000,000

$450,000,000

-

 

 

 

 

 

Department of Education

Career and Technical Education State Grants

NA

$1,262,598,000

$1,262,598,000

-

Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants

$678,640,000

$641,955,000

$485,800,00

-$156,200,000

Posted In: Federal Funding
Senators introduce bipartisan “National Workforce Development Month” resolution

On September 18th, Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Hatch (R-UT), Baldwin (D-WI) and Enzi (R-WY) introduced a bipartisan Senate Resolution to designate September as “National Workforce Development Month.”

The resolution recognizes the importance of federal investment in workforce development programming that provides training, education and upskilling opportunities for workers and meets business demands. It also notes the “crucial role in supporting workers and growing the economy” workforce development programming plays.

Earlier this year, the Council of Economic Advisors released a report in part highlighting that the U.S. invests far less in workforce development programing than other developed countries. Over the past two decades, investments in these programs have decreased dramatically. Funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has decreased by 40%, for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act by 32% and those in Adult Basic Education has decreased by 20%. In the past two years, Congress has slowly begun to reverse this trend and a package passed by the Senate just this week would include a $70 million and $25 million increase in funding for states for CTE and ABE, respectively. This same package would level fund most programming under WIOA, however, and the small increases to CTE and ABE do little to rectify decades of stagnant and declining funding for programs on which communities and businesses across the country rely.

This Senate resolution makes an important statement about the bipartisan support workforce development programming has among policy makers and is a good first step to adequately supporting the programming the resolution highlights.

In recognition of Workforce Development Month and in efforts to further engage policy makers on the importance of federal investments in vital workforce and education programming, the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce will host a Congressional Briefing on Tuesday, September 25th, highlighting the importance of federal funding to support state’s and local areas’ capacity to meet worker skill needs and business demand, find the full invitation here.

Posted In: Federal Funding, Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce

Senate advances FY2019 Labor-HHS spending bill

  ·   By Katie Spiker,
Senate advances FY2019 Labor-HHS spending bill

*On September 26th, the House passed legislation that included the FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies bill. The President is expected to sign the package this week, an on time passage for the Labor-HHS bill for the first time in more than 20 years. In addition to funding for the Labor-HHS and Defense bills, it also includes a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government at current year levels for portions not covered by this package or a separate minibus passed earlier this fall. The CR will last through December 7th, and the House is expected to adjourn after this week through midterm elections.

_____

Earlier today the Senate advanced the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) spending bill. The bill reflects an agreement reached last week between conferees in both the House and the Senate and would largely level fund workforce programming under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) with increased funding levels for both Career and Technical Education and Adult Education state grants.

The bill tracks closely to the bipartisan spending package the Senate passed in August, which provides $200 million higher than the final FY 2018 Labor-HHS spending levels. With this increased allocation, the final agreement includes a $15 million increase in funding for apprenticeship grants, to $160 million for FY 2019, and small increases to both the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker and Native American national programs. The bill also includes an almost $4 million cut to Employment Service grants to states.

Career and Technical Education state grants will receive $70 million more than in FY 2018, to $1.26 billion. This increase is consistent with the House’s proposed increase in their Labor-HHS bill and reflects broad bipartisan support for the newly reauthorized Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, signed in to law this summer. Adult Education and Family Literacy state grants also increased by $25 million over FY2018 levels to nearly $642 million in FY 2019. In their report language, conferees expressed concern about the administration’s proposed reorganization of the Office of English Language Acquisition and the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE).

The bill also increased the maximum Pell award for FY 2019 by $100 to $6,195.

The House is expected to pass the bill next week upon return from recess, allowing the President to sign the bill into law prior to September 30th, the end of FY 2018. If this happens, it will be the first time in more than twenty years Congress has completed the Labor-HHS bill on time.

NSC applauds appropriators for their work in advancing this important bill efficiently and for increases to important programs that will help states and local areas train workers to meet business demand. Through the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce, NSC looks forward to working with appropriators to continue the trend of investment in vital workforce and education programming.

 

FY 2018 Omnibus

FY 2019 Labor-HHS Conference Report

Change from FY 2018-2019

Department of Labor

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I – State Formula Grants

$2,789,832,000

$2,789,832,000

-

WIOA Adult

$845,556,000

$845,556,000

-

WIOA Dislocated Worker

$1,040,860,000

$1,040,860,000

-

WIOA Youth

$903,416,000

$903,416,000

-

Wagner-Peyser Employment Service Grants

$666,413,000

$663,052,000

- $3,361,000

Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grants

$6,000,000

$6,000,000

-

Apprenticeship Grants

$145,000,000

$160,000,000

$15,000,000

DW National Reserve

$220,859,000

$220,859,000

-

Native American Programs

$54,000,000

$54,500,000

$500,000

Ex-Offender Activities

$93,079,000

$93,079,000

-

Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers

$87,896,000

$88,896,000

$1,000,000

YouthBuild

$89,534,000

$89,534,000

-

Senior Community Service Employment Program

$400,000,000

$400,000,000

-

JobCorps

$1,718,655,000

$1,718,655,000

-

Department of Education

Career and Technical Education State Grants

$1,192,598,000

$1,262,598,000

$70,000,000

Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants

$616,955,000

$641,955,000

$25,000,000

Posted In: Federal Funding
House Democrats introduce HEA legislation that would extend Pell grants to short-term programs and increase data transparency

On July 24, 2018, House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member, Bobby Scott (D-VA), along with several House Democrats, announced the roll-out of the Aim Higher Act (H.R. 6543)—a comprehensive bill that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) for the first time since 2008 if signed into the law. According to the bill’s sponsors, H.R. 6543 consists of proposals contained in Aim Higher, the House Democratic legislative campaign launched in May 2017, as well as amendments offered by Committee Democrats during the December 2017 markup of the PROSPER Act (H.R. 4508)—a controversial HEA re-write introduced by House Republicans late last year.

Many of the provisions in the Aim Higher Act embody long-standing priorities of House Democrats—including access to free community college, increased Pell grant funding, strict oversight of proprietary institutions, and the expansion of support services for underserved students, including DACA recipients and foster and homeless youth. The bill has a number of provisions that contradict those contained in the PROSPER Act—demonstrating that House Republicans and Democrats have been unable to build consensus around modernizing higher education policy.

Bipartisan progress on HEA has also stalled in the Senate. Despite a series of promising hearings on higher education reform this year, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander announced that his Committee will not produce legislation to reauthorize HEA this Congress. Nonetheless, the Aim Higher Act provides insight into the postsecondary priorities of House Democrats—which helps set the stage for HEA reauthorization debate in the 116th Congress.

Key elements of the Aim Higher Act include:

Extending federal financial aid to short-term programs – The Aim Higher Act contains language from the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act—a comprehensive bill introduced by House and Senate Democrats this Congress; which aims to make a number of changes to the funding and accessibility of Pell grants.

This language would extend Pell grants to academic or job training courses that are at least 150 clock hours of instruction time over a period of at least 8 weeks; so long as the program is part of a career pathway, and results in an industry-recognized credential. Under current law, students are only eligible to receive Pell grants if they are enrolled in a program of study that requires 600 clock hours over a minimum of 15 weeks. This long-standing policy makes federal financial aid inaccessible to students who may be looking to upskill through high-quality, short-term programs—an issue that has been consistently raised by National Skills Coalition (NSC).

The PROSPER Act made similar changes to Pell grant eligibility—however, students would only have access to Pell grants if they were enrolled in a program that was at least 300 clock hours of instruction over a minimum of 10 weeks. Additionally, the PROSPER Act lacks important quality assurance provisions—missing opportunities to engage business and industry leaders in the oversight of short-term programs and set clear guidelines for institutions looking to offer these courses.

NSC has long advocated for students attending short-term programs of high quality to have access to Pell grant programs; a concept that Republicans and Democrats have now both supported in various pieces of legislation, including the bipartisan JOBS Act—introduced by Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH) last year—the PROSPER ACT, and most recently the Aim Higher Act.

Improving postsecondary data transparency – Due to existing legal restrictions on the collection and dissemination of postsecondary data, students, parents and policymakers do not have a full picture of the quality of higher education programs. Currently, postsecondary institutions are required to report information to the Department of Education through multiple surveys rather than sharing consistent student level data; a practice that is both burdensome and ineffective. Additionally, the federal government only requires colleges to report data on students receiving Title IV financial aid—leaving the public without a clear picture of program outcomes.

The Aim Higher Act addresses this issue by overturning the 2008 student unit record ban and requiring the development of a secure system, housed by the Department of Education, that would evaluate program-level data. This language is similar to that of the College Transparency Act—a bipartisan, bicameral bill led by Senators Hatch (R-UT) and Warren (D-MA) and Representatives Polis (D-CO) and Mitchell (R-MI)—that aims to equip students with the data they need to make informed decisions about their futures. NSC supports the College Transparency Act and is encouraged by the inclusion of similar language in the Aim Higher Act.

The PROSPER Act also took steps to increase the transparency of postsecondary education data by mandating the creation of a college dashboard website. While this public-facing website would include valuable, institution-level information such as student to faculty ratio and the median earnings of students who obtained a certificate or degree both in the 5th and 10th years following their graduation, the student unit record ban would be kept in place—meaning no new data would be captured. While the dashboard acknowledges the importance of data transparency, it leaves students and their families without a complete picture of what to expect from various institutions.

Increasing support services for high-need students – National Skills Coalition has been a vocal advocate for support services for adult and other non-traditional students enrolled in higher education. The majority of postsecondary students today have at least one characteristic of a non-traditional student—which can include working full or part-time while attending school, parenting a dependent child, or entering college for the first time after spending years in the workforce.  These students often have different needs than first-time, full-time college students between the ages of 18-23 who are living on campus while attending classes.

To help aid non-traditional students, the Aim Higher Act establishes a $150 million grant program for states to establish or expand initiatives that help vulnerable populations, such as foster and homeless youth, successfully transition to college. Grantees would also be required to award funding to institutions looking to provide wrap around services to these students, such as housing, childcare, and transportation, once they enroll in college.

NSC supported a similar proposal introduced in the Senate this Congress, known as the Gateway to Careers Act. Led by Senator Hassan (D-NH) this measure would support career pathways for nontraditional students through dedicated federal grant funding. The grants, which would be administered by the U.S Department of Education in consultation with the U.S Department of Labor, would be awarded on a competitive basis to institutions that are working in partnership to serve students experiencing barriers to postsecondary access and completion. Career pathways, which combine access to career counseling, direct support services—such as childcare and transportation—and basic skills instruction, lead students to the skills and credentials they need to persist and succeed in today’s economy.

In addition to this new grant program, the Aim Higher Act increases funding for existing student support programs, including:

  • The Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS)
    • The Aim Higher Act would increase funding for CCAMPIS, a program that provides campus-based child care services to low-income parents, from $16 million per year to $67 million (a $51 million increase).
    • The PROSPER Act preserved CCAMPIS but did not provide additional funding for the program. 
    • The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO)
      • TRIO programs are designed to provide services to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight different programs targeted to assist low-income individuals, first generation college students, and individuals with disabilities—so that they can progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs. The Aim Higher Act increases funding for TRIO programs by $110 million—which would bring total funding to $1.01 billion.
      • The PROSPER Act cut funding levels for TRIO by $50 million.
      • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
        • SEOG is a federal assistance grant reserved for college students with the greatest need—roughly 81% of students who receive SEOG come from families earning less than $30,000 per year.
        • The Aim Higher Act phases out the current SEOG allocation formula and replaces it with one that would base the amount of funding on the level of unmet need at an institution as well as the percentage of low-income students they enroll; rather than how long the institution has participated in the program. The Aim Higher Act also creates a pilot program that allows institutions to use up to 5% of their FSEOG funds to provide emergency grants to students.
        • Under the PROSPER Act, SEOG would have been eliminated.
        • Federal Work Study (FWS) program
          • The bill would also replace the current FWS grant allocation formula with the one proposed for SEOG—and would include a “bonus allocation” for institutions that have strong outcomes for serving and graduating Pell recipients. The Aim Higher Act would also double funding for FWS.
          • FWS also received an increase in funding under the PROSPER Act, although the current funding formula would stay in place. PROSPER also aimed to give students participating in FWS more flexibility to work in the private sector during their time in school.
          • Pell Grant Program
            • The Aim Higher Act extends financial aid access to those who have historically been unable to qualify for assistance, including undocumented students who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) and individuals who were previously or are currently incarcerated.
            • The bill would also increase the maximum Pell award by $500 each year and permanently index the grants for inflation. Additionally, students would be able to access Pell grants for fourteen semesters instead of the current twelve.


Other notable elements of the Aim Higher Act include:

Establishing a federal-state partnership to finance free community college – One of the hallmarks of the Aim Higher Act is the establishment of a federal-state partnership that would cover the cost of community college for students across the United States. States would be able to opt into a partnership with the federal government, through which they would receive federal funding, so long as they committed to providing all students with two years of community college free of cost—and continued to invest in education to reduce the financial burden on students and families.

The concept of free community college dates back to “America’s College Promise”—a plan announced by President Obama in 2015 that would tuition to community college students who maintain a grade-point average of 2.5 or better, and who graduate within two years. Although America’s College Promise was not supported at the federal level while President Obama was in office, a number of states have continued or adopted their own free tuition programs; including Tennessee, Oregon, Rhode Island and California.

Simplification of the federal student loan system – The Aim Higher Act would provide students with two repayment options for their student loans: a fixed repayment plan, or an income-based repayment plan. Borrowers who are more than 120 days delinquent will automatically be enrolled in an income-based repayment plan.

A step toward Competency Based Education (CBE) – The Aim Higher Act green lights a demonstration project that allows participating CBE programs to request flexibility from some regulatory requirements seen as barriers to implementation. In exchange, annual evaluations of CBE programs are required. An institution’s accrediting agency is also required to set standards specific to CBE.

As of today, the Aim Higher Act has not yet been scored by CBO. National Skills Coalition looks forward to continuing to work with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle as move closer to enacting higher education legislation that works for today’s students.

Posted In: Adult Basic Education, Career and Technical Education, Federal Funding, Higher Education Access

DOL releases funding to expand apprenticeship and work-based learning

  ·   By Katie Spiker,
DOL releases funding to expand apprenticeship and work-based learning

Earlier today, DOL announced the availability of $150 million in Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grants to support partnerships between institutions of higher education and business associations’ work to expand apprenticeship and work-based learning in in-demand fields. The solicitation includes a strong focus on sector-based, industry-driven strategies that can expand business’ capacity to run work-based learning programs and diversify and broaden the pipeline of workers with access to and success in these programs.

Successful applicants will be eligible for $1-$12 million over four years and DOL anticipants funding up to thirty partnerships to support programs in IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, financial services and educational services. Each applicant will identify goals of serving between 800-5,000 apprentices, depending on the amount of funding for which they will apply.  

The solicitation today follows a 2017 Executive Order to Expand Apprenticeship in which the President tasked DOL with implementing a new system of industry recognized apprenticeships, in part by allocating funds under the H-1B visa account to support this expansion consistent with today’s solicitation. The EO also tasked DOL, Department of Education and Department of Commerce with convening a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. Meeting over the past year, the Task Force was comprised of Governors, business leaders, and representatives from industry associations, labor and community college. Their work culminated in a report to the President earlier this year with recommendations on expanding apprenticeship, reiterating the call for using H-1B funds to support this expansion.

In building on the EO and Task Force’s recommendations, today’s solicitation includes several critical allowable uses of funds consistent with NSC prioritiesbuilding partnerships to lower barriers to apprenticeship expansion for small and mid-sized companies, collecting data and measuring impacts of programs to ensure quality, providing support services like childcare and transportation that can improve success for a diverse pipeline of workers, funding pre-apprenticeship programs that can be a key onramp to apprenticeship for low-skill and underrepresented populations and upskilling incumbent workers.

The solicitation would require grants to go to partnerships between institutions of higher education (IHEs) and national industry associations or consortia of businesses. IHEs are crucial partners in apprenticeship programs and NSC released a report earlier today on the importance of supporting partnerships between community colleges and industry representatives. And while apprenticeship is certainly one program on which these partnerships can collaborate, NSC advocates for support for partnerships with a wide range of skills training goals.  

While crucial partners, higher education should be among numerous entities – including industry associations themselves, the workforce system, labor-management partnerships and community-based organizations – eligible for future funding to support the expansion of apprenticeships. Under the bipartisan PARTNERS Act, states would grant funding to local industry partnerships comprised of representatives from industry and education providers together with the workforce system, labor-management partnerships and other community partners. Today’s solicitation is consistent with the PARTNERS Act – and a strong first step in expanding local, robust, industry-driven partnerships that support work-based learning – but leaves room for further expanding the partners represented in these partnerships.

The solicitation also applies a definition of apprenticeship previewed in the Task Force on Apprenticeship’s report to the president which is likely to be the definition the administration continues to apply to Industry Recognized Apprenticeship. Under the definitions, programs would qualify for funding (and qualify as an “apprenticeship”) if they include the following components:

  1. Paid work-based component
  2. On-the-job training and mentorship
  3. Training-related instruction
  4. Culminating in an industry-recognized credential
  5. And including safety, supervision and EEO protections


This is a relatively robust definition that includes most of the components for which NSC, and our partners, have advocated. It certainly meets the definition we’ve advocated for work-based learning. It misses an important component that often distinguishes apprenticeship from other work-based learning programs, however – that a worker earns increases in wages as their skills increase. This wage and skill progression provides a predictable path for both workers and businesses at the foundation of apprenticeship.

Today’s solicitation comes in the lead up to a White House convening on job training, scheduled for Thursday July 19th. At least 15 business leaders, along with numerous other industry representatives and policy makers, will join the President as he signs an Executive Order on job training and are expected to announce a set of commitments to training workers. The Executive Order will direct agency leadership to form an inter-agency working group focused on job training, the National Council for the American Worker. It will also create an advisory committee for the administration comprised of representatives from businesses, postsecondary education, state policy makers and the philanthropic community.

Both strategies are consistent with NSC priorities, and we look forward to working with representatives in both capacity.

Given the administration’s calls to drastically cut workforce programs and a proposal last month to consolidate the Departments of Education and Labor, the administration’s continued focus on consolidating workforce programs raises concerns, however. Congress has rejected the administration’s proposals, providing much need funding increases for many workforce and education programs last year, and local and state workforce systems continue to implement innovative, industry-driven programming. 

NSC will continue to work with partners across the country and policy makers to support expanded access to work-based learning – including apprenticeship – and to ensure continued support for vital workforce and education programs that help meet business demand and worker need.

Posted In: Federal Funding, Work Based Learning
Senate Appropriations Committee advances Labor-HHS bill with increased funding for apprenticeship and adult basic education

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced their Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill. With their vote yesterday, the Senate has now advanced all 12 of their funding bills for FY 2019.

The Senate version of the bill included level funding for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state formula grants and national programs. It also provided level funding for Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grants. The Senate bill would increase funding for apprenticeships by $15 million, $10 million more than the FY 2019 House bill. The Senate version also maintained a limitation that this funding only applies to registered apprenticeship programs, a limitation excluded from this year’s House bill. Committee report language in both the House and Senate recognize the importance of investing in local, industry driven partnerships as a foundation of apprenticeship expansion. This strategy is consistent with the bipartisan PARTNERS and BUILDS Acts.

The Senate Labor-HHS bill would increase funding for Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants by $25 million over FY 2018 levels, up to $641,955,000, and level fund Career and Technical Education State Grants. The House bill would level fund adult education, instead providing Career and Technical Education State Grants with an increase of almost $115 million over FY 2018 levels.

The House remains stalled after the Appropriations’ Labor-HHS Subcommittee advanced a partisan bill on party lines two weeks ago, with full committee mark up of the bill having been delayed now twice. For more background, see earlier updates on the FY 2019 appropriations process here and here.

 

 

 

FY 2018 Omnibus

FY 2019 House Labor-HHS Bill

FY 2019 Senate Labor-HHS Bill

Department of Labor

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I – State Formula Grants

$2,789,832,000

$2,789,832,000

$2,789,832,000

WIOA Adult

$845,556,000

$845,556,000

$845,556,000

WIOA Dislocated Worker

$1,040,860,000

$1,040,860,000

$1,040,860,000

WIOA Youth

$903,416,000

$903,416,000

$903,416,000

Wagner-Peyser Employment Service Grants

$666,413,000

$585,788,000

$666,413,000

Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grants

$6,000,000

$6,000,000

$6,000,000

Apprenticeship Grants

$145,000,000

$150,000,000

$160,000,000

DW National Reserve

$220,859,000

$200,000,000

$220,859,000

Native American Programs

$54,000,000

$55,000,000

$54,000,000

Ex-Offender Activities

$93,079,000

$93,079,000

$93,079,000

Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers

$87,896,000

$87,896,000

$87,896,000

YouthBuild

$89,534,000

$92,534,000

$89,534,000

Senior Community Service Employment Program

$400,000,000

$400,000,000

$400,000,000

Department of Education

Career and Technical Education State Grants

$1,192,598,000

$1,307,287,000

$1,200,019,000

Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants

$616,955,000

$616,955,000

$641,955,000

 

Posted In: Federal Funding, Adult Basic Education, Work Based Learning

FY 2018 omnibus released, increases funding for key workforce, education programs

  ·   By Kermit Kaleba, Katie Spiker, and Katie Brown
FY 2018 omnibus released, increases funding for key workforce, education programs

Authors: Kermit Kaleba, Katie Spiker, and Katie Brown

Congressional leaders last night released final text for an omnibus spending package that is expected to finalize Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations for most federal programs. The $1.3 trillion omnibus reflects the increased spending levels for both defense and non-defense programs agreed to as part of recent legislation lifting the budget “caps” for federal discretionary spending, and includes some critical boosts in funding for key education and workforce development programs, including:

  • Increasing state workforce formula grants under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by a combined $80 million, including a $30 million increase to the WIOA Adult program (from $816 million to $846 million); a $30 million increase to WIOA Youth programs (from $873 million to $903 million); and a $20 million increase to the WIOA Dislocated Worker state grants (from $1.02 billion to $1.04 billion).
  • Increased funding for apprenticeship grants at the Department of Labor, from current levels of $95 million to $145 million
  • Modest increases for a range of other national grant programs at DOL, including a $6 million increase for migrant and seasonal farmworker grants, a $5 million increase for ex-offender grant programs, and a $5 million increase for YouthBuild.
  • A $75 million increase in career and technical education state grants under the Carl Perkins Act
  • A $35 million increase for adult education state grants under Title II of WIOA
  • An increase in the maximum Pell Grant award, from the current $5,920 per year to $6,095 for the 2018-19 academic year.


Importantly, the omnibus rejects many of the proposed cuts to workforce and education programs that were included in President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request, and sends a clear signal about the bipartisan support for investments in skills as the economy grows.

The bill is expected to be passed by the House today, and then will move to the Senate for a vote. It is unclear whether the Senate will be able to complete work on the measure before the current short-term “continuing resolution” expires tomorrow – some Senators have expressed a willingness to delay the vote into the weekend – but it is expected that the overall measure will pass and move to the President for his signature.

National Skills Coalition applauds the increased funding for key education and workforce programs, and we thank Congressional appropriators and leadership for their efforts to ensure that our budget addresses the needs of today’s labor market. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to build on these increases in the FY 2019 appropriations process.

Key Education and Workforce Programs – FY 2018 Omnibus

 

FY 2017 Omnibus

FY 2018 Omnibus

Change

Department of Labor

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I – State Formula Grants

$2,709,832,000

$2,789,832,000

$80,000,000

WIOA Adult

$815,556,000

$845,556,000

$30,000,000

WIOA Dislocated Worker

$1,020,860,000

$1,040,860,000

$20,000,000

WIOA Youth


$873,416,000

 

$903,416,000

$30,000,000

Wagner-Peyser/Employment Service Grants


$671,413,000

 

$666,413,000

-$5,000,000

Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grants


$6,000,000

 

$6,000,000

-

Apprenticeship Grants

$95,000,000

$145,000,000

$50,000,000

DW National Reserve

$220,859,000

$220,859,000

-

Native American Programs

$50,000,000

$54,000,000

$4,000,000

Ex-Offender Activities

$88,078,000

$93,079,000

$5,000,000

Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers

$81,896,000

$87,896,000

$6,000,000

YouthBuild

$84,534,000

$89,534,000

$5,000,000

Senior Community Service Employment Program

$400,000,000

$400,000,000

-

Department of Education

Career and Technical Education State Grants

$1,117,598,000

$1,192,598,000

$75,000,000

Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants

$581,955,000

$630,667,000

$48,712,000

Federal Work Study

$1,093,997,000

 

$1,130,000,000

$36,003,000

 

Posted In: Federal Funding

White House budget promotes some workforce priorities, but includes drastic cuts to key programs

  ·   By Kermit Kaleba, Katie Spiker, and Katie Brown
White House budget promotes some workforce priorities, but includes drastic cuts to key programs

On February 12th, the Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Presidential Budget Request, providing a mixed bag of funding increases and cuts across a range of federal workforce, education, and human services programs.

The annual budget request comes at an unusual moment in the Washington calendar, with Congress still trying to finalize spending levels for FY 2018. Congress last week passed a two-year bipartisan budget agreement that would raise defense and non-defense budget caps for the next two years by nearly $300 billion, including increases to non-defense spending caps of $63 billion for FY 2018 and $68 billion by 2019. Last week’s agreement also authorized a stopgap Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded through March 23rd as lawmakers work to complete FY 2018 spending decisions under the increased caps.

Because the President’s budget released today was developed before last week’s budget deal, it does not include funding at levels that are consistent with the new caps; instead, the Administration is touting broad cuts to non-defense programs – a total of $3 trillion over ten years – as a highlight of the FY’19 budget. While Congress is unlikely to adopt the President’s recommendations in their current form, today’s budget does put additional pressure on appropriators to consider at least nominal reductions in funding to discretionary programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, despite strong bipartisan support for these critical programs.

The budget request does include some good proposals around workforce and education, including a recommendation to expand Pell grants to short-term programs and additional funds for apprenticeship. The White House also released an addendum to their previously prepared budget request, in response to last week’s Congressional budget agreement, in which the administration appears to recommend spending an addition $1.3 billion in FY 2019 non-defense discretionary funds on WIOA formula grants – effectively overriding the $1 billion proposed cuts in the original budget request.

The budget request and addendum continue an inconsistent narrative from the administration on the importance of workforce and education programs. The proposed cuts aren’t surprising given an administration focus on eliminating federal workforce and education programs, and yet the President has touted the importance of job training as recently as his State of the Union a few weeks ago and proposed a renewed focus on expanding apprenticeship in his infrastructure principles released just this morning.

NSC continues to advocate for adequate investment in key workforce and education programs and the consistent inconsistency from the administration only reinforces the importance of weighing in with your policy makers to ensure they understand how vital workforce and education programs are to your communities, your work, and the President’s priorities.

Department of Labor. Overall, the President’s budget calls for $9.4 billion in funding for DOL, a cut of 21 percent relative to current funding levels. While recognizing the millions of workers in need of training and openings with U.S. businesses, the budget frames these cuts in the context of an effort to “consolidate and reorganize Federal workforce development programs.”

 The request calls for cuts of approximately $1.08 billion across the three state formula grants under Title I of WIOA. The formula funding levels in the request represent about a 40 percent cut, which NSC and Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce have detailed would a devastating impact on local areas provision of WIOA funded services. These cuts are exacerbated by other cuts proposed in the request – the administration would eliminate the Indian and Native Americans national grant program, the Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP), the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker program, and Workforce Data Quality Initiative grants. The administration would direct the Secretary of Labor to set aside 1.5 percent of WIOA adult formula funds to support Indian and Native American programs and justifies the elimination of SCSEP because adults served under that program could be eligible for programming funded by WIOA adult formula dollars.

The administration requested a nearly 40 percent cut to the Wagner-Peyser Employment Service under WIOA Title III, and proposes refocusing Job Corps programs on older youth.

Despite their overall reduction in requests for workforce funding, the administration continued their focus on apprenticeship requesting $200 million for expansion of the new “Industry-Recognized” apprenticeship program created by the President’s Executive Order last summer, specifically to health care, information technology, and advanced manufacturing jobs.

The budget request includes full funding at authorized levels ($450,000,000) for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Training program, proposing a legislative adjustment that would “refocus” TAA training on apprenticeship and work-based learning strategies.

The budget request also includes $130 million in funding for Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments (RESEA), consistent with an extension of the program included as part of the February 9th bipartisan budget agreement.

Department of Education. Under the President’s proposed budget, The Department of Education is funded at $59.9 billion—which equals an $8 billion or 12% overall reduction from the 2018 annualized Continuing Resolution (CR) level. This request includes the cancellation of $1.6 billion in unobligated balances in the Pell Grant program, although the FY’19 addendum would not include this rescission.

Higher Education Act:

Pell Grants – Under the President’s budget, discretionary funding for Pell grants is maintained at a level of $22.5 billion. Combined with mandatory funding, the maximum award for FY’19 stands at $5,920 per-student, per-year. While the budget contains no financial changes to the Pell grant program, it does propose expanding Pell eligibility to high-quality, short-term programs that provide students with a credential, certification or license in an in-demand field. This suggested policy change is in line with the Higher Education Act reauthorization principles released by the White house late last year.

NSC has consistently advocated for the extension of Pell eligibility to short-term programs that are proven to be rigorous and of high-quality. This priority is reflected in our Skills For Good Jobs Agenda  and is embodied in Congress by the JOBS Act—bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH). Although the President’s budget does not contain specific policy guidelines, NSC is encouraged by the push to make postsecondary education more accessible for all students.

Federal Work Study – The budget contains a significant 75% cut to the Federal Work Study (FWS) program. The request justifies this substantial decrease by proposing to dramatically reform the FWS to support workforce and career-oriented training opportunities for low-income undergraduate students rather than “subsidizing employment as a means of financial aid.” This provision is consistent with the reforms made to the FWS program in the House proposed PROSPER Act, which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act if signed into law. The PROSPER Act, however, contained a $6 million increase for the program.

Adult Education: Notably, the President’s budget proposes a 15% cut to adult education state grants which are authorized under WIOA Title II—a number that is consistent with last year’s suggested cuts. These grants help provide foundational skills and English literacy instruction to over 1.5 million individuals. If enacted, these cuts would be detrimental to individuals in need of foundational skills to succeed in our 21st century workforce.

Career and Technical Education (CTE): In stark contrast to the President’s 2018 budget request which proposed a 15% cut to CTE state grants, his 2019 proposal contains level funding ($1.1 billion) for CTE—and refers to this funding as an important component of the President’s job creation agenda.

The budget proposes a range of program eliminations under the Education Department, most notable the elimination of the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG) which support low-income postsecondary students, and the cancellation of the State Longitudinal Data Systems grants that support state investments in educational data alignment.

Department of Health and Human Services

The Administration’s budget proposal for Health and Human Services proposes legislative changes to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that would result in cuts to the current block grant program of about ten percent relative to current levels (from $16.3 to $15.1 billion) and would eliminate the TANF contingency fund, resulting in combined cuts of about $10 billion between 2019-2023. However, the budget also includes some proposals that may help to support better connections to education and training, including a proposed requirement that states spend at least 30 percent of combined federal and state funds on work, education, and training activities; work supports, including child care; and assessment/service provision for TANF eligible families. The budget also proposes to replace the current caseload reduction credit with an “employment credit” that rewards states for placing individuals in work; eliminating the separate two-parent work participation rate; and allowing states to count individuals who do not meet the monthly work participation requirements to count for partial credit towards a state’s overall requirements. It is unclear whether Congress will seriously consider changes to TANF this year, but this language does appear to be consistent with a broader Administration focus on expanding work requirements for low-income individuals on public assistance.

Department of Agriculture

Unlike last year, the President’s budget does not include proposals to shift a significant percentage of overall costs for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) onto states. However, the budget does propose some legislative changes to SNAP, including restricting state waivers for time restrictions on Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) to counties with at least ten percent unemployment; eliminating the “15 percent” exemption that allows states to exempt certain ABAWDs from time limits; and a proposal to convert part of the SNAP allotment from electronic benefits into USDA “Food Packages.” The budget would cut overall funding for SNAP by more than $200 billion over the next ten years if all proposed changes were enacted.

National Skills Coalition strongly opposes the cuts to workforce, education, and human services programs proposed in the FY 2019 Presidential Budget Request. At a time when U.S. businesses continually cite to the need for skilled workers to compete in a global economy – and when millions of workers need training to reach these skill levels and get and keep family-supporting jobs – we must invest in vital workforce, education and human services programs. Disinvestment harms our local communities, businesses and workers. NSC calls on Congress to reject the President’s proposals and continue our bipartisan commitment to investment in skills. 

 

 

FY 2019 – Authorized Levels

Current Levels – FY 2017 Omnibus

FY 2019 Presidential Budget Request

Change from Current – 2019 Budget Request

Department of Labor

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I – State Formula Grants

$3,293,978,000

$2,709,832,000

$1,629,522,000

-$1,080,310,000

WIOA Adult

$881,303,000

$815,556,000

$490,370,000

-$325,186,000

WIOA Dislocated Worker

$1,406,322,000

$1,020,860,000

 

$615,485,000

-$405,375,000

WIOA Youth

$943,828,000

$873,416,000

$523,667,000

-$349,749,000

Wagner-Peyser/Employment Service Grants

NA

$671,413,000

$416,315,000

 

-$255,098,000

Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grants

NA

$6,000,000

$0

-$6,000,000

Apprenticeship Grants

NA

$95,000,000

$200,000,000

$105,000,000

DW National Reserve

NA

$220,859,000

$51,000,000

-$169,859,000

Native American Programs

$530,000

$50,000,000

$0

-$50,000,000

Ex-Offender Activities

NA

$88,078,000

$78,324,000

-$9,754,000

Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers

$94,214,000

$81,896,000

$0

-$81,896,000

YouthBuild

$89,196,000

$84,534,000

$58,960,000

-$25,574,000

Senior Community Service Employment Program

$463,809,605

$433, 535,000

$0

-$433, 535, 000

Trade Adjustment Assistance

$450,000,000

*

$450,000,000

-

Department of Education

Career and Technical Education State Grants

NA

$1,117,598,000

$1,117,598,000

-

Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants

$664,552,000

$581,955,000

$486,000,000

 

-$95,955,000

Federal Work Study

NA

$1,093,997000

$221,492,000

-$872,505,000

*Actual outlays for TAA for 2017 were $391,419,000. The program is authorized for up to $450,000,000 and the 2019 Presidential Budget Request includes funding up to the authorized level.

Posted In: Federal Funding, Career and Technical Education, SNAP Employment and Training, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Higher Education Access, Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce
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