NSC partners engage policy makers in conversations about HEA and Perkins reauthorizations

April 04, 2016

National Skills Coalition understands the importance of connecting our partners with their elected officials to advocate for workforce policy change.  Over the past year, NSC has facilitated a number of calls with members’ staff and partners from across the country.

These partners have included key workforce stakeholders like community and technical colleges, business leaders, labor organizers, and community based organizations. Most recently, with increasing Congressional focus on the Higher Education Act (HEA) & Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) reauthorizations, NSC has taken a strategic approach to organizing community and technical colleges and their employer partners together for these constituent calls. The employer partners involved in these calls describe the importance of these short term training programs which could benefit from legislation supporting increased financial aid and support at community and technical colleges.

NSC Partners in Senator Enzi’s home state of Wyoming – Lynne McAuliffe,  Dean of Workforce and Community Education at Central Wyoming College, Carole Shafer , Director of Center for Workforce and Community Education at Gillette College, and Kevin Kershisnick,  General Manager of Pertech Industries – came together to discuss how these pieces of legislation could improve workforce development in their state. The constituents shared information with Sen. Enzi’s staffer about how Wyoming’s industry and sector partnerships make it easier for employers, the workforce system and community colleges to work together, and emphasized the necessity of funding these partnerships. The partners also focused on the importance of Perkins funding for aligning postsecondary training with employer needs. With Perkins funding being reduced by 15% since 2010, higher authorized funding levels as part of Perkins reauthorization are key to employers’ and community and technical colleges’ ability to keep up with Wyoming demand.  

NSC Partners Sharon Miles, Director, Adult Education/Literacy Center for Workforce and Community Education at Community College of Rhode Island, Steve Kitchen, Vice President of Corporate Education and Training at New England Institute of Technology, and Pam Lendzion, Executive Director of American Boat Builders and Repairs Association discussed a myriad of topics with Senator Whitehouse and Senator Reed’s staffers. Our partners took the opportunity to engage their elected officials on key pieces of legislation including the JOBS Act, which would expand Pell eligibility to participants in short-term, in-demand training programs,  and ensure their Senators were aware of their priorities during an upcoming HEA and Perkins reauthorization.  

If you’d like to participate in an NSC organized constituent call with your member, we’d love to connect with you! You can email Katie Spiker or Ashley Shaw with NSC to find out next steps. And keep your eyes open on Twitter and Facebook for some of these partners and more sharing their experiences with calls with their members.