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Workforce and education programs largely maintained in FY 2017 omnibus package
Kirill Abbakumov   on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

The funding levels for the rest of the year has been established as the FY 2017 omnibus package passed through Congress on May 3rd, and the set is now being set for what is expected to be a contentious FY 2018 process.

The Labor-HHS-Education section of the bill largely sustains or increases investments in federal workforce and education programs. The bill increases funding for apprenticeship programs at the Department of Labor (DOL) from $90 million in FY 2016 to $95 million in FY 2017, with DOL to build on ApprenticeshipUSA initiative and to focus on expanding opportunities for women in apprenticeship. Training and education services to young adults received an increase of $15 million over FY 2016 levels. The package also restores year-round Pell Grants, which allow low-income students to access a second Pell award in a calendar year in order to accelerate their studies.

For most other programs, the bill maintains spending levels, including state formula grants under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Grant (WIOA), adult education grants under Title II of WIOA, and Perkins career and technical education (CTE) grants. The bill does include modest cuts to certain programs, including elimination of funding for the Women in Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program, as well as cutting $34 million for Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

The Trump administration had pushed for significant cuts to FY 2017 spending, but ultimately Congress has rejected most of the administration’s proposals and instead focused on completing the current bill in order to avoid a potential government shutdown. It remains to be seen whether this support will carry over into FY 2018 appropriations process, where the President has suggested cuts of around 21% to the DOL budget and about 13% for Department of Education programs, including deep reductions in Pell Grants.

A detailed chart of spending levels for workforce and education can be found here.