The Federal Budget and appropriations process: America Forward Funding Priorities

The following post was written by, Jessica Crawford, Director of Strategic Partnerships at America Forward, and Nicole Truhe, Director of Government Affairs at America Forward.

In our first blog post in this series, we shared a brief overview and current status of the federal budget and appropriations process. In today’s post, we will discuss how America Forward’s funding priorities fit into the federal budget and appropriations process.

As we mentioned previously, nearly all of the federal funding that helps advance the work of America Forward and its Coalition organizations comes through discretionary programs. Discretionary program spending must be approved each year through the appropriations process. Congress sets spending levels for discretionary programs through the 12 annual appropriations bills.

Federal Funding for Innovation and Results

America Forward has long-advocated for Congress to fund federal programs that spur innovation, reward results, and catalyze cross-sector partnerships to drive progress in education, workforce development, early learning, poverty alleviation, public health, pay for success, social innovation, national service and criminal justice reform.

Based on the work of our 70+ Coalition organizations, we developed the following requests for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 17). Read the final America Forward’s FY 17 Appropriations Request letter here.

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

Department of Education

  • $1.16 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which is the same amount provided in FY2016, to support effective extended learning and enrichment opportunities that are connected to content covered during the school day through effective community-school partnerships.
  • $350 million for the Charter Schools Program to support high-quality charter schools that break the mold of the status quo and create new solutions to meet critical needs.
  • $180 million for the Education, Innovation, and Research (EIR) to increase the number of high-quality applications to build evidence of effectiveness and to demonstrate the feasibility of scaling effective interventions, including support for ARPA-ED, to spur the development of educational technology necessary to personalize learning.
  • $100 million for First in the World to encourage innovation in higher education necessary to tackle and improve college completion rates, increase the productivity of higher education, build evidence of what works, and scale up proven strategies.
  • $9.6 billion for Head Start to increase the number of children attending Head Start for a full school day and a full school year.
  • $15 million for the InformED initiative at the Institute of Education Sciences to support efforts that will collect, analyze, and release data and evaluation studies, for internal users and the public, to answer pressing education questions.
  • $13.6 billion for IDEA to serve students with disabilities.
  • $350 million for Preschool Development Grants to support significant national investments necessary to ensure that all young people have access to a high quality education and the opportunity to succeed.
  • $30 million for the School Leader Recruitment and Support Program to seed models of promising principal preparation programs, scale preparation programs with results, and support effective professional development for school leaders in the field. $100 million for the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Grant Program to recruit and develop teachers, principals, or other school leaders.
  • $190 million for the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant program to advance literacy skills for students from birth through grade 12.
  • $1.6 billion for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants to support locally designed efforts to provide students with well-rounded educational experiences, safe and healthy learning environments, and personalized instruction, including through the effective use of technology.

Department of Labor

  • $1.33 billion for major formula funds under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), including the adult, youth, and dislocated worker funding streams and $3.2 million for WIOA technical assistance to provide resources to support state implementation of WIOA.
  • $500 million for the creation of a Workforce Data Science and Innovation Fund to address the quality of workforce related data in order to improve training programs and consumer choice.
  • $2 billion for an Apprenticeship Training Fund to be funded over five years in an effort to double the number of registered apprenticeships by helping more employers provide high-quality on-the-job training through apprenticeship and to support states and localities with resources to assist employers in creating and expanding apprenticeships.
  • $102.5 million for YouthBuild grants that are used to engage low-income 16-24 year olds in a comprehensive full-time education, job training, and community service program in which students earn their GED or HSD while learning job skills by building affordable green housing under skilled supervision, or through providing health or technology services in their communities.

General Provisions- Departments of Labor and Education

  • Continued authority for Performance Partnership Pilots to award up to 10 new pilots that allow States, tribes and localities to blend certain discretionary funding in order to improve education, employment and other key outcomes for vulnerable youth.

Corporation for National and Community Service

  • $1.47 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service to support high-impact, cost-effective service opportunities in communities that continue to fuel the expansion of innovative programs in a variety of fields.
  • $70 million for the Social Innovation Fund to test promising new approaches to major social challenges and to expand evidence-based programs that demonstrate measureable outcomes. This includes the allowable use of up to 20 percent of funds for Pay for Success projects.

Financial Services and General Government

  • $300 million for Pay for Success Incentive Fund at Department of Treasury to help state and local governments implement Pay for Success programs with philanthropies, nonprofits, and other nongovernmental organizations.
  • Support the creation of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking proposed by Congress in 2014 and again in 2015 that would make recommendations for how to use current administrative data and how to make additional administrative data available for evaluation by Federal and outside researchers.

Transportation, Housing, Urban Development and Related Agencies

  • $1.5 billion for new Upward Mobility Project to allow ten States and localities to test and validate promising approaches to help families become more self-sufficient, improve children’s outcomes, and revitalize communities. This initiative includes new funding as well as the flexibility to combine funds from four existing block grants to achieve these important objectives.

Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

  • $20 million for the new Smart on Juvenile Justice Initiative to award incentive grants to assist states in fostering better outcomes for justice-involved youth.
  • $120 million for the Second Chance Act Program to provide grants to establish and expand adult and juvenile offender reentry programs to reduce recidivism and help those exiting the justice system to rejoin their communities and lead productive lives, including $20 million for Pay for Success projects to provide awards for supporting housing using performance-based metrics.
  • $30 million for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to support states and localities in using a data-driven approach to improve public safety, reduce corrections spending, and to reinvest savings in effective strategies to decrease crime.

What will America Forward be doing to protect funding for these important programs?

Throughout the year, America Forward follows the progress of the appropriations bills that provide funding for those agencies that oversee the important programs detailed above. This includes letters of support, statements, and advocacy materials. The America Forward team will also be meeting with Congressional appropriations leaders to ensure the programs listed above receive funding. In our next post we will dive deeper into the importance of funding for Pay for Success and evidence-based policy programs. Stay tuned!

Previous Article America Forward: Federal budget and appropriations primer April 11, 2016 < Next Article Third Sector Announces Second Cohort of Awardees as Part of National Pay for Success Competition April 11, 2016 >

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