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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - November 14th, 2022

Department of Education Launches New Initiative to Support Career-Connected Learning

Washington Update

U.S. Department of Education

On Monday, November 14, the U.S. Department of Education announced the launch of a new Biden-Harris Administration initiative called “Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success.” The initiative aims to increase and expand access to high-quality training programs to help young Americans pursue jobs in in-demand fields and prepare them for careers of the future. The initiative, which is supported by the Departments of Labor and Commerce, builds on President Biden’s FY23 budget proposal that invests $200 million in Career-Connected High Schools and supports competitive grants to grow and build models. Funding would also support partnerships between local educational agencies, institutions of higher education—including community colleges—and employers, to encourage earning college credit while in high school through dual enrollment in core content and career and technical coursework; work-based learning opportunities; and academic and career counseling. President Biden’s FY23 Budget proposal also includes $1.4 billion for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. This includes an increase of $20 million for CTE state grants that would expand access to career-connected programs for more students.

With the support of the $120 billion dollars dedicated to K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Perkins funding, the effort will strengthen the connection between K-12 education, post-secondary education, and workforce programs. The Administration wants to ensure the next generation gains the skills needed to fill high-paying jobs, like those created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and CHIPS and Science Act. This includes expanding access to skills-based learning and training pathways, like Registered Apprenticeships in key industries such as advanced manufacturing, automotive, and cybersecurity.

The Department of Education announced $5.6 million dollars in Perkins funding for a new program called “Career Z Challenge: Expanding Work-Based Learning Opportunities” competition in Spring 2023 and issued new guidance on how federal funds can be used to develop and expand career pathway programs. The competition will foster multi-sector partnerships and expand work-based learning opportunities for students. Semi-finalists and finalists will be eligible to receive targeted technical assistance including professional development support, webinars and training, as well as a portion of a prize pool.

The Department will also publish a Dear Colleague Letter that provides information on how schools can use ARP funds to develop and expand career pathway programs and help more students pursue careers in in-demand fields.

In support of the launch, First Lady Jill Biden, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, traveled to Chicago to meet with students enrolled in a career-connected learning program at Rolling Meadows High School. Click here to access the press release.

Click here to access the Dear Colleague Letter.

Congressional Leadership

Later this week, Republicans in the House and Senate are set to vote on who their leaders will be for the next two years, but the party’s unexpected results in the midterms have triggered calls to delay the election. Representative Andy Biggs (AZ), a former chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is considering a challenge to House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) for the speakership if Republicans win the chamber. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) has said she will not announce whether she will seek another term as Democratic leader until after all of the House races are called. Meanwhile, Senator Rick Scott (FL) and others are pushing for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (KY) to delay leadership elections planned for this week until after the Georgia runoff early next month.

Pelosi also indicated Congress would vote to raise the federal debt ceiling during the lame-duck session as she is concerned Republicans could use the issue as leverage to cut Medicare and Social Security should they regain control of the House. As Congress returns this week they face a number of critical issues on their agenda, including government funding, the National Defense Authorization Act, codifying same-sex marriage and changes to the Electoral Count Act.

National Apprenticeship Week

This week marks the start of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) 8th Annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW). The national celebration will bring industry, labor, workforce, education, and government leaders together to host events that showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeships for re-building the nation’s economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities. During NAW 2022, the Department will highlight the following key themes: growing our economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities. The week will also feature daily themes: Monday, Nov. 14: Registered Apprenticeship in New and Emerging Industries;

Tuesday, Nov. 15: Pre-Apprenticeship and Youth Apprenticeship;

Wednesday, Nov. 16: Expanding Registered Apprenticeship to Underserved Populations;

Thursday, Nov. 17: Women in Apprenticeship; and

Friday, Nov. 18: Public Service Apprenticeships and Veterans in Apprenticeship

2022 marks the 85th Anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act, so DOL’s goal is to have 1,000 NAW events and 250 proclamations across the country in all states and territories, including the District of Columbia. To reach that goal, the Department asks that you continue to promote NAW by issuing a proclamation, hosting and participating in events throughout the week, and encouraging event hosts to register events and proclamations on the NAW website. 

To make sure your event is highlighted on the Department’s website, please email your NAW pictures, videos, proclamations, and articles to and use the hashtag #NAW2022 on social media posts. You can also send any information to USCM WDC staff, Kevin Verge, to compile and send to the Department.

Click here to access the NAW website to submit event information.

Click here to access proclamation templates.

Click here to access the NAW mailer.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending November 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 225,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 217,000 to 218,000. The 4-week moving average was 218,750, a decrease of 250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 218,750 to 219,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.0 percent for the week ending October 29, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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