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In This Moment (02/05): Funding for Community Schools

February 5, 2021 | Iish Ryaru

This week we flag an opportunity to participate in an upcoming webinar on leveraging Federal COVID-19 funds for community schools. Community schools share many of the same features as Linked Learning pathways, including integrated supports and services addressing students’ academic, personal, and social-emotional needs.

We also delve into federal legislation that would provide guidance on and additional funding for apprenticeships.

Finally, we provide updates on Miguel Cardona’s Wednesday Senate confirmation hearing. At this point, all signs point to his likely confirmation as Secretary of Education.

If you have additional policy updates that would be valuable for the Linked Learning field, please share them with Iish@LinkedLearning.org.

Funding for Community Schools

On Thursday, February 18 from 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM PST, the Coalition for Community Schools and the Institute for Educational Leadership are hosting a webinar on Leveraging the Federal COVID-19 Relief Funding for Community Schools and Whole Child Strategies. The webinar will offer guidance on “...how to utilize resources allocated in Federal relief packages to advance Community Schools and Family and Community Engagement.” This event is specifically designed to meet the needs of district leaders and practitioners, and other state leaders. Click here to register.


Strengthening Our Youth Apprenticeship Act

Last week, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX) and Congresswomen Abigail Spanberger (VA) re-introduced the Strengthening Our Youth Apprenticeships Act. This legislation would provide guidance and best practices to support youth apprenticeship programs in secondary and postsecondary education programs. It would also fund expansion of apprenticeship programs, including partnerships with community colleges and industry.

Castro stated that, “Apprenticeships are an important path for young people to learn new skills and start a potential career, and they deserve the opportunity to gain college credit at the same time.” These types of federal investments have the potential to positively impact high quality pathways.

Work-based learning opportunities like apprenticeships are a key component of high-quality Linked Learning pathways, as they provide students with meaningful experiences with work and real-world applications of learning. We will continue to monitor these and other federal and state efforts to address apprenticeships and provide updates as they become available.

Miguel Cardona’s Senate Confirmation Hearing

On Wednesday, Miguel Cardona faced questions at his Senate confirmation hearing about a number of education issues, including student debt, school reopenings, and transgender student participation in sports programs. Cardona is the chief of Connecticut's K-12 public schools, and President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Education Department. Democrats and Republicans on the Senate's health and education committee indicated they would quickly move forward with his confirmation.

Although much of the hearing focused on K-12 issues, higher education did surface as lawmakers expressed interest in easing “the pathways between secondary schools and community colleges and career technical education.”

During the hearing, Sen. Tim Kaine (VA) spoke to the Gateway to Careers Act, a bipartisan bill intended to help expand economic opportunity and support innovative businesses in need of a strong workforce. The bill has been endorsed by workforce development groups and would create grants for partnerships between community or technical colleges and entities like industry associations.