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July 26, 2018

Peter Testimony

Wednesday, July 25 was a momentous day for workforce development and the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) on Capitol Hill. On the same day that SDWP CEO Peter Callstrom testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee, the house approved a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which sent the bill to the president’s desk for signature.

Peter Testimony Susan DavisRepresentative Susan Davis invited Callstrom to share SDWP’s trailblazing approach to workforce development as part of the committee’s Innovation Forum and Showcase. One of only 23 innovators showcased from across the nation, Callstrom testified to SDWP’s wide-ranging partnerships that leverage the federal workforce investment, including through recent collaboration with providers of homeless services to bring job search and job readiness services to our region’s most struggling families.

Callstrom also shared that SDWP is launching two major efforts to fund outcomes—positive changes for community members—rather than funding outputs or services. The nation’s first pay-for-performance contract in workforce development was signed to incentivize desired outcomes for justice-involved young adults. Discussions are also underway with philanthropic and financial investors to enable training to be funded by income-sharing agreements, another innovation that motivates partners to achieve great outcomes with clients. SDWP would be the first workforce development board to deploy this new approach.

Callstrom told the committee, “Though our economy is strong now, millions are still unemployed and underemployed. We can never lose sight of the fact that millions rely on the public workforce system—in good times and bad. Know that your support of WIOA and other public workforce funding is making a profoundly positive difference in the lives of countless individuals, families and our economy. Your investment in job seekers is paying off in quality jobs, new skills and extensive partnerships with the private sector.”

Later that day on the house floor, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was reauthorized by voice vote and with unanimous bipartisan backing. The bill will provide critical support for millions of students and workers pursuing vocational training and preparing to enter the workforce. All San Diego high school and unified districts as well as community colleges receive Perkins funding for workforce development, so the bill’s new provisions will have wide ramifications for San Diego County.

Last updated in 2006, this overhaul of the legislation includes a few key changes. Significant for workforce development were changes made to align with provisions of WIOA. These include alignment with WIOA terminology and an option for states to submit combined Perkins-WIOA plans. Another dramatic shift in the law will allow state to set their own career and technical education (CTE) goals without the approval of the Secretary of Education, a change that some workforce advocates fear will result in some states weakening their standards for CTE.

The law will come into effect in 2019, which is considered a transition year. States will formulate 4-year plans for the program years between 2020 and 2024. The act is authorized for between $1.2 and $1.3 billion per year in funding. Whether or not Perkins will be fully funded at authorized levels will be determined in the debate around allocations for the 2019 budget.

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