May 16, 2022

Washington Wire Action Alert: Tell Congress to Increase FY2021 Perkins, CTE, MEP Funding


Action Alert: Tell Congress to Increase FY2021 Perkins, CTE, MEP Funding  

The House of Representatives the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee is scheduled to hold a mark-up for its FY21 appropriations bill to fund job training and education programs on July 7.
One Voice succeeded in helping pass a new Perkins Career and Technical Education authorization bill into law in 2018 and we are working to ensure those programs have adequate funding. Washington should support job training initiatives and programs that support in-demand jobs such as those in the manufacturing industry. Now more than ever employers and employees need access to job training resources from MEP funding to grants for apprenticeship and industry recognized credentials.
We need you to contact your Representatives today and ask them to increase funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant program, MEP, CTE, and other programs used by our members. Click here to contact your member of Congress today and make your voice heard!



Department of Education Highlights New Developments in Workforce Training
On July 1, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) plans for the final wave of states. With the addition of Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and West Virginia, the agency has now approved CTE plans for each state (California has an extension) under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) since the bipartisan legislation was passed and signed into law in the summer of 2018. Job recruitment, training, and placement, as well as advanced technical education, are critical to the future of manufacturing in America. One Voice extensively lobbied in favor Perkins V and its passage into law is proof of how grassroots advocacy from individual companies through their associations can make a difference in a polarized Washington. Click here for more information on each state’s CTE plan, including those still in the agency review phase.
In June, Secretary DeVos announced the Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant Program. Funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the agency will award $127.5 million in grants for programs designed to offer students the opportunity to acquire new skills, provide innovators and inventors the resources to grow existing businesses or build new ones, and encourage colleges and universities to foster business development and innovation in an effort to stabilize disruptions to U.S. education and the economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant competition is open to all states and awards will go to applications that demonstrate a burden created by the COVID-19 pandemic and propose a project supporting people living and working in their communities. Specifically, the agency will focus on programs that either: (1) expand educational opportunities through short-term, career pathways or sector-based education and training programs; or (2) support local entrepreneurship through small business incubators. Click here for more information on the grant program. The application period for the program runs until August 24 and the agency intends to make awards no later than October 2020.



Small Business Administration Releases Data, Recipient Names for PPP Loans
On July 6, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released additional data and the names of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipients following negotiations with Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. While recipients acknowledged that their information may be disclosed upon filling out the loan application, the Trump administration had resisted releasing too many details for fear of jeopardizing business confidential and proprietary information. The final agreement allows for the release of the names of businesses receiving loans of $150,000 or more but does not disclose the exact amount, only a range for the loan awarded. The release of the information is in line with a longstanding policy by the SBA of making loan information public. A May survey of NTMA and PMA revealed that over 90 percent of member companies secured a PPP loan, which allowed businesses to maintain payrolls as COVID-19 spread.



EPA Planning to End COVID-19 Enforcement Policy in August
On June 29, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would end its policy suspending monitoring and reporting requirements for particular entities during the COVID-19 pandemic on August 31. When it implemented the policy, the EPA justified its decision because worker shortages and travel restrictions during the pandemic limited the ability of businesses to accurately monitor and report discharges and emissions required under various environmental laws like the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. In a memorandum from the agency, EPA Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine defended not immediately ending the suspension because businesses will need time to adjust as the country begins to reopen. Even though it states the suspension will end August 31, the EPA will continue monitoring the situation and may end this policy earlier if conditions warrant it.



California Announces New Rule Requiring Zero-Emissions Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles
On June 25, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced a new rule requiring manufacturers to start selling medium- and heavy-duty trucks with zero emissions. Under Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Regulation, manufacturers who certify Class 2b-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines will need to start selling electric models by 2024.
Starting in 2024, the percentage of mandatory sales of electric trucks will gradually increase. By 2035, zero-emission truck/chassis sales will need to make up 55 percent of Class 2b-3 truck sales, 75 percent of Class 4 – 8 straight truck sales, and 40 percent of truck tractor sales. Furthermore, the ACT Regulation will start requiring fleet owners with 50 or more trucks to report about their existing fleet operations. The regulation’s final goal is for electric truck sales of all models to reach 100 percent by 2045.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia follow California’s passenger vehicle emissions standards. Whether they follow the state in this instance is yet to be seen, but sources report California has begun talking with seven states and the District of Columbia on ways to cooperate on electric trucks. In releasing its Spring 2020 Unified Regulatory Agenda, the EPA said that in September it will release a proposed rule to evaluate data on current NOx emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and engines, and options available to improve control of criteria pollutant emissions through revised emissions standards.