Congress Increases Apprenticeship Funding; Workforce Development Legislation Introduced

Last week, President Trump signed a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that will keep the government running until September. Within the bill, funding for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) job-training grants remains steady at $2.7 billion, while federal appropriation for apprenticeships increased by $5 million, to $95 million. This may be an indication that Congress took interest in the President’s comments from earlier this year in which he stated the U.S. should create five million apprenticeships in the next five years.

In addition, legislation reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was introduced by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) is largely identical to the bill the House of Representatives passed in September 2016 by an overwhelming vote of 405 to 5. The Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a mark-up on May 17, reflecting the urgent priority to improve career and technical education for today’s and future generations. Attendees of PolyCon17 will be urging Congress to take swift action on this important piece of legislation on the same day as the mark-up.