Advance CTE is posting a series of blogs on each 2020 presidential candidate who has released an education or workforce development platform and is polling above one percent. Check back for the next blog in this series, and catch up on previous posts!
Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign platform supports Career Technical Education (CTE) by calling for doubling the annual investments in CTE programs in high schools and colleges. His plan for supporting and expanding CTE opportunities are listed out in “The American Opportunity Agenda: Affordable College, Stronger Workforce Development, & Lifelong Learning.” This agenda is comprised of three parts that would support access to training and education with the intention of ensuring success for individuals and the greater economy.
- Improve College Affordability and Completion
Buttigieg plans to make college free for low-income students by providing free tuition and financial support for living expenses. This would be done through partnerships between states and the federal government and would make public tuition free for students who are Pell Grant eligible and for all families earning up to $100,000. Buttigieg would also invest $120 billion into the Pell Grant program to in order to cover the cost of tuition and basic living expenses. He plans to increase the size of the maximum Pell Grant allotment as well, and connect it to inflation. Buttigieg also commits to supporting college completion in ways such as creating a $1 billion community college fund to invest in local communities and respond to barriers that college students face, as well as reforming the Federal Work-Study Program to make sure that funding is allocated to models that allow students to work in fields aligned with their career-goals. Buttigieg also supports removing the ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals and expanding the Second Chance Pell program.
- Invest in the American Workforce
Buttigieg makes the campaign promise that he would invest $50 billion into the skills of the country’s workforce. This would include doubling annual investments in high school and college CTE programs. Funding would also go to state and industry partnerships that would give all high school students in CTE programs free college credit, the opportunity to earn industry credentials and participate in work-based learning. In addition, he would implement a tax deduction for employers that offer paid work experience in ways such as internships and youth apprenticeships.
Another component of the skills investment would be a $10 billion investment in registered apprenticeships. Buttigieg outlines that he would build upon the Registered Apprenticeship system through the National Apprenticeship Act and invest $1 billion annually to double the number of apprentices- with a focus on nontraditional industry sectors. In particular, Buttigieg plans to do the following: develop a challenge grant program for states; create industry-specific centers of excellence to work with employers and intermediary organizations; incentivize employers to participate and invest in apprenticeship programs and build a federal apprenticeship service.
Buttigieg would also form a presidential “Skills Cabinet” tasked with creating and investing in a skills strategy for the country based on best practices across states. The Secretaries of Commerce, Education and Labor would need to work with industry and labor leaders to create a five-year skills strategy. There would be about a $2 billion annual investment in workforce programs and partnerships, based on the Skills Cabinet strategy, that support collaboration between the economic development and lifelong learning efforts.
This campaign also outlines a $100 million annual investment in scaling local public-private workforce partnerships with the intention of building “talent ecosystems” that connect education, economic development and workforce development. This funding would be allocated through performance grants in regional workforce partnerships based on successful practices.
- Strengthening College Transparency, Safety, and Oversight
One way that Buttigieg plans to increase transparency is by providing important outcomes information to students about colleges that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. This data would be available to the public in a user-friendly manner.
You can read Buttigieg’s full proposals for the above three strategies in “The American Opportunity Agenda: Affordable College, Stronger Workforce Development, & Lifelong Learning.”
To learn more about Buttigieg’s education and workforce development plans you can check out his campaign platform.
Meredith Hills, Policy Associate