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  /  Blog   /  Remind Congress of the Importance of CTE Funding

Remind Congress of the Importance of CTE Funding

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has lost over 20 million jobs, which represents nearly 15% of American workforce. Skills training is a vital part of economic recovery—without skills training programs, the skills gap will only grow and we will continue to face a prolonged economic downturn. Career and technical education (CTE) programs play a big role in getting Americans back to work in stable and good-paying jobs, and current negotiations in D.C. will determine how much funding these vital programs receive next year. Now is the time for CTE professionals to make their voices heard in support of these programs. 

Congress is currently working on passage of the Fiscal Year (FY) 21 appropriations bills, which fund the federal government. To keep the government running, Congress must either pass full appropriations bills or a continuing resolution (CR) by December 11. 

On November 10, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its draft Fiscal Year (FY) 21 appropriations bill. This bill serves as the starting point for the Senate negotiating with the House to agree on funding levels before sending bills to the President to sign into law. According to the Committee, the proposal includes $184.4B in overall funding. This includes $73.2B for the Department of Education, which represents an increase of $433M (or 0.9%) over FY 20. 

The bill includes $671M for Adult Education, which was the level funded in FY 20, and $3.58B for Department of Labor Training and Employment Services programs, which is a decrease from $3.61B in FY 20. DoL Training and Employment Services Programs are key to post-pandemic economic recovery. 

The bill also proposed the following funding levels for programs that are important to CTE educators:

  • CTE National programs: $7.42 million, level funded from FY 20 
  • Federal Work-Study: $1.18 billion, level funded from FY 20 
  • Career Pathways for Youth Grants: $10 million, level funded from FY 20 
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants: $2.132 billion, level funded from FY 20
  • ESSA Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $1.25 billion, an increase of $40 million from FY 20 
  • Pell Grants: $6,495 for the maximum award, an increase of $150 from FY 20 

Ask Your Representatives to Invest in Vital CTE Programs to Jump-start the Economy 

It is more important than ever for U.S. Representatives and Senators to hear from CTE professionals about how vital these skills training programs are to our economy—not only nationally, but also at the state and local levels. With more and more people seeking new career skills in this COVID-19 environment, now is the time to reach out and make your voice heard. 

Find your U.S. Representative here and U.S. Senator here and contact them today to express support for these programs that are key to re-skilling and widespread economic recovery.

And sign the petition from Voices For Skills that calls for skills training to be a critical piece of our nation’s economic recovery moving forward. Part of the National Skills Coalition, Voices for Skills is a coalition of working people, students, teachers, parents, jobseekers, and businesses calling for a national commitment to significantly increasing our investment in skills training.

Voices for Skills calls on policymakers to invest in skills training by:

  1. Making it easier for people to access our nation’s safety net and retrain for a career. 
  2. Helping small and mid-sized businesses avoid layoffs. 
  3. Providing comprehensive income, healthcare, and re-training support to every displaced worker. 
  4. Pairing local businesses with local training programs so training leads to a job.
  5. Updating our education and training policies to respond to the pandemic. 
  6. Creating new, good-paying jobs and training people for them. 
  7. Expanding digital access and improving digital learning for all. 
  8. Releasing public data so we know everyone is recovering fully and equally.