Congress Takes First Step in Funding Critical Job Training Programs

Congress is beginning their annual process to consider and pass legislation to fund the government. This week the House Appropriations Subcommittees approved their versions of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills, including those funding critical workforce training and career and technical education (CTE) programs. This is the first step in Congress to ensure that these programs receive the resources needed.

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies FY21 bill includes $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), including $2.9 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Grants, $185 million for registered apprenticeships and $50 million to continue and expand the Strengthening Community College Training Grants. The funding represents small increases for each program, resulting in an overall increase of $187 million for the ETA above FY20 funding and $1.5 billion above the President’s request.

The legislation provides $1.3 billion in funding for Perkins Basic State Grants, an increase of $18 million above the FY20 enacted amount, but $662 million below the President’s budget request. The maximum Pell Grant award is also increased under the bill to $6,495, up from $6,345 in FY20. The Subcommittee also included a NTMA supported Second Change Pell provision, extending Pell Grants to incarcerated individuals.

The House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies funding bill includes $153 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, an increase of $7 million above the FY20 enacted level.

Leaders in the House of Representatives have showed their desire to pass all twelve spending bills prior to the Congressional August recess. However, the appropriations process in the Senate has been delayed over disagreements on police reform and COVID-19 response funding. Without an agreement on a way forward, Congress may be forced to pass a short-term spending bill to fund the government past the end of the fiscal year.

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