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On March 29, 30 Senators joined in a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, urging the committee to support critical investments in federal job training and education programs as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) took the lead in circulating the letter, which encourages appropriators to:
The following lawmakers joined Senators Blumenthal and Snowe in support of workforce investments:
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
In addition to those Senators signing the Dear Colleague, Senators Brown (D-OH), Pryor (D-AR), and Bennet (D-CO) indicated that they would include workforce programs in the funding priorities they submit to committee individually.
Blumenthal and Snowe also took the lead on a letter calling for investments in career and technical education under the Carl D. Perkins Act. Other Senators on the CTE letter were Leahy, Jim Webb (D-VA), Wyden, Sanders, Reed, Tester, Whitehouse, Bingaman, Menendez, Cardin, Kohl, Schumer, Merkley, Franken, Akaka, T. Johnson, Stabenow, Coxer, and T. Udall.
Senator Schumer submitted a separate letter urging the committee to restore Pell Grant eligibility for "ability to benefit" students – individuals without a high school diploma or equivalent who until recently could qualify for Pell by passing a test or successfully completing six credits of postsecondary coursework. This eligibility was eliminated in the FY 2012 omnibus.
Senator Webb submitted a separate letter in support of Title adult education funding. Joining Webb on the letter were Senators Leahy, Reed, Bingaman, Begich, Whitehouse, Shaheen, Gillibrand, and Schumer.
National Skills Coalition thanks these Senators for their leadership and vision on these important issues, and we look forward to working with Congress to prioritize investments in the skills of the U.S. workforce in FY 2013.