March 29, 2010
Department of Education Pledges to Expand CTE
On March 25, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee hosted a hearing on “Jobs, Training and Education.” During this hearing Jane Oates, assistant secretary for the Employment Training Administration in the Department of Labor, and Martha Kanter, undersecretary in the Department of Education, testified.
The majority of the questions from Appropriations Committee members were aimed at expanding such workforce-training programs as the Green Jobs Act, Career Pathways Innovation Fund, summer jobs, and other programs housed under the Workforce Investment Act. However, there was also a strong focus on CTE.
Rep. Cole (R-OK) was the most vocal on the CTE issue, expressing his concern about the flat-funding of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. He said that this program helps not only traditional secondary and postsecondary students, but dislocated workers who are struggling to re-enter the workforce. Undersecretary Kanter addressed Rep. Cole’s concerns by saying that the Department of Education wants to expand CTE programs in high schools and community colleges. She said that the Administration did not ask for an increase in funds because they thought that the American Graduation Initiative (AGI) in the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) would provide additional funds to community colleges. (However, AGI funds did not end up being included in SAFRA-see our related story.) She acknowledged that many CTE programs are in desperate need of updated equipment, and that money in SAFRA could have addressed that if the Perkins program could not. She did say that “Perkins is critical” to education and workforce training, but did not discuss how high school CTE programs would be funded without increasing the Perkins program.Posted by: gwixom