President Issues Executive Order on Childcare; Senator Budd Named to CTE Caucus
On Thursday, April 20, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee held a hearing on the nomination of Julie Su to lead the Department of Labor. Throughout the hearing Su faced tough questions from Senate Republicans who feel she is not a good fit for the position. Unions, such as the AFL-CIO, have been expressing their support for Su in recent weeks. Both sides are hoping to influence undecided, moderate Democrats. Opposition groups have criticized her support for an overturned California law that would have required app-based ride hailing and delivery companies to treat their workers as employees, providing benefits such as paid sick leave and unemployment insurance, rather than classifying them as independent contractors. Moderate Democrats and independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) are key to Su’s confirmation since Republicans have expressed unity in opposition. The White House and Su herself have been in touch with key senators to try and ensure her confirmation.
On Wednesday, April 26, the Senate HELP committee will hold its vote on Su for Secretary of Labor. If that passes, the nomination then will head to the Senate floor for a final vote. Su cannot afford to lose any votes in a 51-49 divided Senate, as Senator Dianne Feinstein is on leave of absence recovering in California without a firm return date.
Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus
On Friday, April 21, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Senator Ted Budd (NC) will take over for Senator Rob Portman (OH) as the next Republican Senate co-chair of the congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus. Senator Budd is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee and supports workforce development and expanding access to CTE programs. The Congressional CTE Caucus serves to raise awareness of and support for the CTE community and lead on legislation related to these issues. Caucus members work to call attention to CTE as a proven method for promoting America’s continued economic growth and competitiveness while ensuring that all learners have the skills they need to succeed in a rewarding, family-sustaining career.
Department of Education
In January, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona launched “Raise the Bar: Lead the World,” the Department’s call to action to transform P-12 education and advance educational equity and excellence. One key area of focus for this call to action is to ensure every student has a pathway to college and a career by establishing and scaling career and college pathways that lead to students earning industry- recognized credentials and securing in-demand jobs. In order to accomplish this, the Department has initiated an inter-agency initiative with the Departments of Labor and Commerce called “Unlocking Career Success.” This initiative would create and expand opportunities for all students to engage in innovative and equitable pathways that move them towards a rewarding career.
Click here to access the Raise the Bar website.
Click here to access the Unlocking Career Success website.
Click here to access the Unlocking Career Success one-page fact sheet with a QR code in the top right corner that gives you access to further resources on the initiative.
Executive Order on Childcare
On Tuesday, April 18, President Joe Biden signed an executive order (EO) calling for action on the issues of child care and early childhood education. The order includes more than 50 directives across nearly every Cabinet-level agency and calls for support of the early childhood educator workforce - including asking the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue guidance on how states can use existing funds from the Department of Education to explain how Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools grants can be used to increase worker compensation. The Department of Labor will also publish a sample employment agreement so workers and their employers can both better understand their rights and responsibilities. It also asks other agencies to consider regulations that would lower the cost of care for families who are impacted by the Child Care and Development Block Grant program. The EO does not require any new spending.
Biden’s FY24 budget request calls for a gradual expansion of early learning with $500 million provided for a demonstration grant program for free pre-K. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has proposed paring down discretionary spending to FY22 levels in the upcoming budget - which means a tough road for any additional funding for long-term care and child care programs.
Click here to access the executive order.
Last week, sixteen congressional Democrats sent a letter to House leadership urging for the Jumpstart Our Business by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act to extend Pell Grant access for students enrolled in short-term programs at for-profit institutions. Reintroduced earlier this year, the JOBS Act would expand Pell to cover short-term job training programs offered by community colleges and technical colleges but excludes for-profit institutions. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (NC) has indicated Pell Grants for short-term programs is a GOP priority and last month Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA) said a deal is “close.”
Click here to read the letter.
Initial Jobless Claims
In the week ending April 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 245,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 239,000 to 240,000. The 4-week moving average was 239,750, a decrease of 500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 240,000 to 240,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending April 8, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.
Click here to access the report.