The National Governors Association (NGA) doesn’t often wade into debates over federal appropriations, especially over specific programs.
But the issue of workforce development is so critical to state economies that NGA on Thursday encouraged congressional appropriators not to cut funding for career and technical education and job training programs. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year would significantly decrease funding for programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.
WIOA was recently reauthorized, and Congress is currently working to revamp the Perkins Act. NGA also noted recent federal legislative work on pre-school and K-12 programs.
“With this legislation, members of the House and Senate delivered unprecedented opportunities for state and local innovation, opportunities that, ultimately, will only be realized if federal funding for education and workforce programs is sustainable,” NGA said a letter to House and Senate appropriation leaders.
Governors have leveraged federal job-training funds to recover from recessions, grow small businesses and attract industries to their states, NGA said. Without appropriate WIOA funding, coupled with state resources, “state economies will be at risk,” it said.
The association also supported Perkins programs, noting that they help to reduce remediation, encourage innovation in schools and provide students with hands-on, career-related learning opportunities.
“The federal funding stream for Perkins must remain strong to ensure students are prepared for a 21st century economy,” NGA said.
During a House education appropriations committee hearing this week on the president’s budget plan, several Democrats and Republicans expressed support for career and technical education to help students prepare for available trade jobs.