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Administration’s Budget Proposes New Spending on Alternative CTE Opportunities

Wed, February 12, 2020 2:53 PM | Anonymous

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 federal budget and appropriations process has begun with the release of the President’s budget request to Congress. The president’s budget proposal is not binding, but rather a reflection of the Administration’s priorities for the year and can serve to inform congressional negotiations over spending decisions and new policy proposals.  With respect to CTE, the budget proposal included nearly $900 million in additional funding directed to career and technical education (CTE). This is composed of a $680 million increase (53%) for Perkins Basic State Grants, approximately $83 million increase (1112.8%) for Perkins National Programs (with a focus on competitive grants for innovation and modernization of programs), and over $100 million in additional funds that could be generated for Perkins through changes to the H-1B visa program. The AP reported in part the CTE spending: “would be a historic federal infusion into a spending area that’s been stagnant for years” . . . (giving what the President believes are strong career paths) . . . “for students as alternatives to a four-year degree.”  However, these spending levels were paired with some decreases to both the Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Labor (DOL), wherein the President’s ED budget came in 7.8% lower than the enacted FY 2020 level, while the DOL budget came in 10.7% lower. [Much of the proposed cuts will not likely be included in the final appropriations as they wind through Congress, even if some are warranted given the programs are either outdated, redundant, or ineffectual]. 

Nevertheless, the new budget request signals a large shift toward prioritizing CTE for the current Administration, (something the Opportunity America Jobs and Career Coalition, including CIRT have advocated). However, as noted both historically and in the current political environment Presidential budgetary requests have not fared well in Congress. Further, the two-year budget deal that was signed into law last year provided only a small increase in Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) funding for FY 2021 (which includes the Departments of Education and Labor). This will make it difficult for Congress to give any NDD program a significant increase. Within this context, the community will need to continue to fight hard, be vocal, and press for CTE spending at levels not seen during the appropriations process.

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