Last week, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, a $3 trillion, 1,800 page follow-up coronavirus relief package. Although it made important, substantial investments into our education system, it does not include any dedicated resources for CTE programs.
In early May, Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington introduced H.R. 6646/S. 3659, the Relaunching America’s Workforce (RAWA) Act, which provides over $15 billion in funding for various federal workforce programs in response to the economic fallout created by COVID-19, including $1 billion through the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), and $2 billion for community college and industry partnerships. The bill also provides critical Perkins V waivers that give our education leaders the flexibility necessary to ensure they continue to provide high-quality CTE programs to students.
As attention now turns to the Senate and negotiations between the respective parties, our goal is to ensure that CTE funding is prioritized! It is critical that the next relief package provides the necessary resources to ensure students can gain skills that are needed to help combat the pandemic and that will be needed by business and industry as we shift toward long-term economic recovery.
For those of you who have relationships with your Members of Congress, now would be an excellent time to contact them and ask them to support the inclusion of funding for the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act in the next relief package.
You can contact your Members of Congress through the ACTE Legislative Action Center … or you can call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. An operator will then connect you with your requested office. This can be particularly effective if you have a contact in the congressional office that you can ask for directly. For sample talking points, please see below.
- CTE is critical to helping our nation’s economy recover and to getting millions of Americans back to work.
- Significant investment is needed to help upskill and retrain the over 30 million Americans who are out of work and the many whose jobs are likely to be changed and impacted as a result of coronavirus.
- During the last recession, postsecondary enrollment increased by nearly 2.5 million students or 16 percent. The increase was largely due to nontraditional-aged college students, and 50 percent of the new enrollments went to community colleges. A similar trend can be expected with the current predicted economic downturn.
- The next stimulus bill must include a significant investment in CTE and workforce development programs to ensure that CTE has the capacity and resources to nimbly and adequately support urgent workforce needs.