House bill pitches $150M career training program

House appropriators are proposing a $150 million program for education and career training at community colleges.

The House Appropriations Committee on Monday afternoon released a draft of its fiscal year 2020 funding bill for education and job training programs. It includes the proposed Strengthening Community College Training Grants program, run by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), which would “help meet local and regional labor market demand for a skilled workforce by providing training to workers in in-demand industries,” according to a summary of the bill. Four-year college partners could also participate in the program.

The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will begin to mark up the bill Tuesday afternoon.

Although it didn’t provide more details, the text of the bill did note that “any grant funds used for apprenticeships shall be used to support only apprenticeship programs registered under the National Apprenticeship Act.” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), who chairs the appropriations subcommittee, has been firm during recently hearings with the education and labor secretaries that federal funding for apprenticeships should go only to apprenticeships that are registered. 

Education advocates expect more details on the proposal when the appropriations committee releases its full report on May 7.

Good outlook for other programs

As expected, the House funding bill is essentially the opposite of what the Trump administration has proposed. While the president wants to freeze, cut, eliminate or consolidate several key higher education and job training programs, the Democrat-led panel wants to add funding for many of them.

Under the proposal, the maximum amount for a Pell Grant would increase by $150, to $6,345, which Democrats say would help to keep pace with inflation. The bill also would provide $1.1 billion for federal TRIO programs, an increase of $100 million. The GEAR UP program would receive $395 million, an increase of $35 million. Meanwhile, the president’s budget has proposed to consolidate GEAR UP into TRIO.

The House plan also would provide $1 billion for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, an increase of $188 million. The president has proposed to eliminate the program. In addition, the Federal Work Study program would see an increase of $304 million, to $1.4 billion. 

The bill also would appropriate $1.9 billion — a $60 million increase — to career and technical education and adult education. A breakdown for these programs was not provided.

On the training side

For training programs under DOL, the bill would provide $3.9 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs, an increase of $380 million. Adult education training programs would receive $900 million, a $55 million boost. Apprenticeship programs would receive a $90 million increase, to $250 million.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.