Texas IAF Advances EDAP Legislation for Economically Distressed Areas & Continues Push for Restoration of ACE Funding
One month after 300 Texas IAF leaders descended on the Capitol to call for investments in human development, delegations have been visiting the Capitol daily to engage legislators around school finance, the ACE fund, payday lending and infrastructure support for economically distressed areas.
Legislative allies in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso crafted a proposed constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of bonds by the Texas Water Development Board for projects in economically distressed areas. The proposal is almost to the finish line.
With ACE funding already in the draft budget, leaders are working to restore it to its original $10 Million. When economist Marc Elliot from Economic Mobility delivered a presentation on the effectiveness of the Project QUEST job training model at the Capitol, representatives from over a dozen legislative offices attended.
The QUEST model is hailed as the hitting on a "formula with a proven track record" and Texas IAF organizations across the state have applied it in Houston, Dallas, Austin, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.
Texas ACE Fund Return on Investment, Texas IAF
Nine Year Gains: Project Quest's Continuing Impact, Economic Mobility
San Antonio Program Moves Low-Skilled into Middle Class, Houston Chronicle [pdf]
Not All Programs Fade: New Report on Project QUEST RCT Shows Sizable None-Year Earnings Gains for Low-Income Workers, Straight Talk on Evidence [pdf]
Hundreds of Texas IAF leaders bused into the Capitol from El Paso, the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and West Texas, joining Central Texas Interfaith counterparts to call on state legislators to increase spending on adult and K-12 education.
After a morning briefing on school finance, the Texas Innovative Career Education (ACE) program and other issues -- including Medicaid, payday lending, and infrastructure in the colonias -- leaders were recognized with a House resolution in support of the ACE program.
300 leaders then convened on the South steps of the Capitol where they were joined by state legislators who pledged to continue working for investments in people. The following spoke in support of the ACE fund and increased public school funding: Central Texas Representatives Vikki Goodwin, John Bucy, Erin Zwiener, Gina Hinojosa and James Talarico; El Paso area representatives Joe Moody, Mary Gonzalez and Art Fierro; North Texas legislators Victoria Neave, Terry Meza, Julie Johnson, John Turner and Ana Ramos; and from San Antonio, Phillip Cortez.
In photo above, the Rev. Dr. Rhenel Johnson from TMO (Houston) kicks off the press conference with leaders from San Antonio (COPS/Metro), Dallas Area Interfaith, Central Texas / Austin Interfaith, West Texas Organizing Strategy (WTOS), El Paso's Border Interfaith & EPISO, and the Rio Grande Valley (Valley Interfaith). After the press conference, leaders broke out into smaller delegations to meet with legislators representing their geographic regions.
Organizations Call On State Legislators to Support Adult Education, Univision 62 [Spanish video]
DAI leaders from Richardson, Garland and North Dallas engaged Democratic primary challengers in Congressional District 32, and Republican candidates for Senate District 2 and House Districts 114 and 102 . Leaders secured pledges around local control of payday lending ordinances and restoration of state funding to public schools and workforce development.
Since the establishment of the JET Fund in 2009, Texas has invested in nonprofit labor market intermediaries across the state that helped 800+ low-income, nontraditional community college students navigate their way through community college.
The Adult Career Education (ACE) Grant program, the effort's most recent permutation, now faces an uncertain future. In efforts to slash the state budget, Texas legislators are moving to eliminate all "special item" expenditures, including those that pay for special programs at colleges, over and beyond the normal higher education funding formulas.Read more
Over 200 Network of Texas IAF Organization (NTO) leaders and Capital IDEA students and graduates landed at the Texas state capitol to pressure state representatives and senators to restore full funding of the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Fund (ACE Fund), a state funds that support long-term workforce training, at $5 Million. The delegation additionally called on the legislature to support local control and oppose ant-immigrant legislation.Read more
Following up on its $5 million win from the last legislative session in 2013, Texas IAF leaders succeeded in ensuring that the Adult Career Education (ACE) Grant program (and its $5 million in funding) stayed on the Texas budget. This means that Texas IAF workforce development programs (like Capital IDEA, Project ARRIBA, VIDA, Project QUEST, SkillsQuest and Capital IDEA-Houston) can apply for these funds, to expand the training they already offer.
Leaders celebrated word that the labor market intermediary established by The Metropolitan Organization of Houston, Capital IDEA-Houston, won a Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) grant, giving it half a million dollars to train hundreds more community college students for living wage careers in Houston. TMO, with their sister organizations in the Texas IAF, helped establish the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) grant to support projects that prepare low-income workers to attain degrees and certificates in high demand occupations including nursing and information technology. Texas State Representative John Zerwas (R-Richmond) highly praised Capital IDEA-Houston, declaring he "could not find a better use of $500K than to invest in Capital IDEA-Houston." Texas State Representative Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) chimed in adding "we should continue to invest $5 Million in these projects." The award will support about 250 students attending Houston Community College and Lone Star College.Read more
According to a 2010 report prepared by the Institute for Policy and Economic Development at the University of Texas at El Paso, Project ARRIBA's work provides a $26 return for every dollar invested. Graduates of the labor market intermediary "contribute half a billion dollars to the El Paso economy," ARRIBA Executive Director Roman Ortiz said.Read more