This effort is brought to you in partnership with Aztec Software, COABE, and NASDAE.

We have been told by key folks on the Senate side that their Labor-HHS bill will not be marked up in mid-July, as had been previously hoped, without a budget agreement in place.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) wanted to “deem” a top line number after the July 4th recess, much like the House did earlier this year to move the appropriations process forward by inserting a top line funding level in the absence of a budget agreement. We have since learned that the Majority Leader is not in favor of this approach and the FY 20 appropriations process is on hold for the foreseeable future.

As a result, neither Labor-H, nor the other Appropriations Subcommittees in the Senate know how much funding they will be allotted, making it impossible to project funding for specific programs at this juncture.

There is the expectation on the Hill that one or more Continuing Resolutions will be necessary to keep the government open past the end of the current fiscal year on October 1st.

A completion of the FY 20 process needs to happen before January 1st to avoid the nearly 10% across the board cut known as sequestration — which is still very unlikely, a long term CR is a far more likely option if they hit an impasse at that late stage.

COABE and NASDAE Endorse Pathways to Health Careers Act

House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support Chair Danny Davis (D-IL) has just introduced the “Pathways to Health Careers Act” (HR 3398). This proposed bill is the reauthorization of the Health Professions Opportunity Grants program at HHS which provides competitive grant funding to states, workforce boards, CBO’s and other entities, for the education and training of low income, low skill, participants in allied health and other high demand health professions.

COABE and NASDAE have been at the table working with the Chair on this bill for the last several weeks — which more than quadruples current funding to $1.7 billion over four years. We are excited that it includes an holistic investment in adult education allowing direct support for adult education for program participants with applications required to describe how basic skills education activities, work readiness activities, career coaching, mentoring, etc., will be provided.

COABE and NASDAE formally endorsed the bill this week (please see our attached letter of support). We have been informed that the bill will be marked up in full Committee in mid-July. We are excited by this opportunity, which is on a fast track to move through Committee on the House side, but will go through a number of iterations during the legislative process before any final enactment.

Please find our synopsis of the bill’s key components below :

Eligible entities for these grants include: workforce boards , States, IHE’s, Community Health Centers, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and CBO’s.

Funding begins at $350 million in FY 21 and gradually increases to $500 million in FY 24 – it is mandatory funding not subject to appropriations.

Time period – three year grants

Two awards per state per funding cycle

Grants – in addition to 75% of core funding dedicated to educating and training low income individuals in allied health professions, 6% of funding is set aside for demonstration grants focused on providing wraparound assistance for ex-offenders and training participants to become doulas.

Applications must be done in consultation with workforce boards after a review of the state WIOA plan, utilizing state LMI data to determine in demand occupations; and with an examination of career pathways programming ongoing in the state.

Preference in grant making –
for prior successful awardees; applicants with partnerships with state and local agencies, WIB’s, IHE’s, health care employers, and labor unions;mentoring and career coaching;
rural serving;50% cash stipend for participants.

Required support to be delivered with grant funds –
ABE competency assessment and provision of adult ed to allow enrollment of participants; establishing a network of partners to offer improved basic academic skills or English language proficiency before entering a health professions program; offering resources to enable participants to continue advancing adult basic skills proficiency while enrolled in a health career pathway program; embedding adult basic skill maintenance as part of post graduate career coaching and mentoring; Child care; Career coaching and mentoring; Transportation

Allowable support with grant funds –
Cash stipend;Tuition and instructional related expenses;Assistance in accessing and completing HSE or adult basic education courses as necessary to achieve success in the project and make progress towards career goals.