America Forward Weekly Tip Sheet: Policy and Advocacy (2/15)

Below is the latest America Forward “Tip Sheet,” a weekly update on Federal activity related to education, workforce development, and other priorities of the America Forward Coalition.

Last Week in Washington

Earlier in February, the House of Representatives passed the COMPETES Act to boost investments in science and technology. As passed by the House, the bill also incorporates several relevant postsecondary and workforce provisions, including the National Apprenticeship Act, the College Transparency Act, and an expansion of Pell grants for certain short-term programs. The Senate passed a more narrowly tailored bill, the United States Innovation and Competition Act last year. Both bills include $52 billion in subsidies and grants to build domestic semiconductor manufacturing facilities and authorizes $80 billion for the National Science Foundation over five years.
As Congress works out the differences between the two bills, we expect the final version will reduce some of the spending and policy provisions in the COMPETES Act in order to pass the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. Final action on the bill is expected by the summer.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend government funding through March 11th. The Senate is expected to take up the CR this week. House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairs announced last Wednesday that a bipartisan framework for a Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill had been agreed upon and could be passed before the new deadline.

America Forward Welcomes American Student Assistance to the Coalition

Last week, America Forward welcomed American Student Assistance (ASA) as our newest Coalition Member. ASA aspires to help students know themselves, know their options, and make informed decisions about their education and career goals. Its mission is to help build a generation of successful individuals who are confident, competent, and ready to realize the future they envision.

ASA is currently co-sponsoring a career-focused education innovation challenge with a growing group of funders. The Catalyze Challenge offers grants to K-12 and postsecondary institutions, entrepreneurs, community organizations, and cross-sector partnerships for innovative ideas prioritizing career-connected learning that expands economic opportunity and lifelong success for all students. This round of applications will be accepted until February 22. If your organization is interested in learning more or applying, please visit the Catalyze Challenge website.

Resource: Infrastructure Guidebook

The White House released the initial edition of its Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) guidebook to help state and local governments and other stakeholders unlock the benefits from this historic investment. The guidebook contains 12 chapters grouping BIL’s more than 375 programs by issue area: transportation (such as electric school buses); climate, energy, and the environment (such as lead service line replacement); and broadband.

Update: College Scorecard Updated

On February 7, 2022, the Department released updates to the College Scorecard that make the tool more useful for students and families weighing college options. The tool also includes new and updated information that may be beneficial to school counselors, college access providers, researchers, and other critical stakeholders. The Department improved the College Scorecard interactive web tool, in addition to restoring several metrics that help students gauge how their prospective institution compares to other colleges across costs, graduation rates, post-college earnings, and other metrics. You can read more details here.

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