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Legislative Update - November 2017
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The National Council for Workforce Education

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

November 2017

FEDERAL NEWS
  • It’s open enrollment time for the Affordable Care Act! Please help spread the word among your students, adjunct faculty, and others who may benefit from the ACA. People can sign up through www.healthcare.gov through December 15.
  • Two pieces of legislation have been proposed that relate to job training.
    • Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) have introduced the Career Advancement Through New Skills Act, which would give employers a tax credit for investing in skills training for their employees.
    • The other bill is the PARTNERS (Pairing Apprenticeships with Regional Training Networks to meet Employer Requirements) Act. It was introduced by Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Drew Ferguson (R-GA) in the House, and by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in the Senate. It would authorize grants to promote the creation and expansion of apprenticeship programs. The National Skills Coalition has an analysis of the bill.
  • It is time to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, and Republicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee, chaired by Representative Virginia Foxx, R-NC are expected to introduce a bill in the next few weeks. The American Association of Community Colleges has an analysis at http://www.ccdaily.com/2017/11/washington-watch-house-may-soon-release-bill-rework-hea/.
  • The Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion will hold its first meeting on November 13, 2017. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is the task force chair, with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross serving as vice-chairs. AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus is a member of the task force.
  • Earlier this fall, the House and Senate passed a continuing budget resolution to keep the government open until December 8, but they still need to approve a budget for 2018. The federal budget year is October 1 through September 30. Although the Trump administration had proposed significant cuts, Congress appears to be less inclined to cut the federal budget so dramatically.

STATE NEWS

  • The Alabama Community College System is partnering with the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council to offer industry certifications across the entire two-year college system. While many colleges, in Alabama and around the country, offer these certifications, this is the first time a state system has taken such a comprehensive approach: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/10/24/alabama-partners-manufacturing-industry-council-statewide-certifications.
  • In South Dakota, the Department of Education is contacting qualified high school seniors to let them know that they are guaranteed general acceptance into the state’s public universities and technical institutes. The automatic admission is for the institution as a whole, based on Smarter Balanced or ACT test scores; some programs may have higher admission standards: http://sdmylife.com/students/accepted.
  • The idea of free community college continues to spread. Check out these articles about Chicago and California, as well as a list of states that have implemented free community college.
  • The Education Commission of the States (ESC) released a document with legislative examples and an overview of financial aid policies, requirements and programs, with a focus on adult students. ECS analyzed financial need basis, enrollment requirements, award timing and postsecondary sector-based requirements.
  • Maryland and Delaware are investing in career pathways. Meanwhile, the state of Washington is promoting “career-connected learning” especially in STEM fields and Michigan won an award for its new career exploration tool, Pathfinder.
  • Idaho has new legislation, changing its state workforce development system. New Jersey has expanded its system of Talent Development Centers in key industry sectors.

Special thanks to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), National Skills Coalition (NSC), Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, and the (Washington) State Board for Community and Technical Colleges) for much of the information contained in this update.


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