2016 Spending Bill and its Impact on Career Pathways

On Friday, December 18th, President Obama signed the 2016 omnibus spending bill, funding the government through September 30, 2016. The bill provides for critical funding increases in workforce development, adult education and apprenticeships.  The bill increases funding for adult basic education state grants under Title II of WIOA by approximately $13 million over FY 2015 levels.  The omnibus also includes language that updates the definition of eligible career pathways for students receiving federal financial aid under the “ability-to-benefit” (AtB) provisions in the Higher Education Act. This aligns language with the definition of career pathways in WIOA, and restores eligibility for the maximum Pell grant for AtB students to $5,915. The bill also includes $90 million in new funding for apprenticeship programs. These funds are intended to expand activities under the National Apprenticeship Act and will be used for competitive grant programs.