Texas IAF Fights to Protect ACE Fund from Senate Special Item Cuts

[Excerpts below]

Since 2014, Texas has paid nonprofits across the state to help nearly 800 poor, older students navigate their way through community college….

The programs face uncertain futures because they are funded using a budgeting tactic known as a special item. Those items are used to pay for specific programs at universities by sending the schools that host them money outside the normal higher education funding formulas…..

Next year, that kind of help could end, though not because lawmakers are unhappy with the program. If the Senate gets its way in ongoing state budget negotiations, the Legislature would overhaul the way it pays for higher education in Texas — and funding for the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Grant Program could disappear.

“It has nothing to do with our program or the effectiveness of it,” said Elizabeth Valdez, lead organizer for The Metropolitan Organization in Houston, which is advocating for lawmakers to continue funding the grant….

[Photo Credit: Gabe Hernandez, Texas Tribune]

Commentary: Funds Help Adult Career Program Boost Workforce, Families, Austin American Statesman

State Should Continue Funding ACE Job Training, San Antonio Express-News [pdf]

Proposed Higher Education Funding Overhaul Could Come With Collateral Damage, Texas Tribune

Senate ResolutionSenate of the State of Texas

Texas Job Program Shows Unusually Strong, Lasting Gains, Study FindsAustin American Statesman [pdf]

Study Affirms Project QUEST AchievementsSan Antonio Express-News

Escalating Gains: Project QUEST’S Sectoral Strategy Pays OffEconomic Mobility

Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) Grant Program: The Wise Investment for Proven Economic Development, Texas IAF

Texas IAF Leverages $5 Million for Job Training

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 again for these funds, to expand the training they already offer.

Texas IAF Reconstitutes Job Training Fund (ACE)

1308 - TT - ACE Funding RestoredTexas IAF leaders were successful in transforming the JET Fund, “which gave nonprofits $10 million starting in the 2010-11 biennium to support career training programs for low-income students” into the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) Grant program.  “The ACE grant program will award about $5 million under a similar model to nonprofits for the next biennium. It will be administered by Austin Community College, which will step into the comptroller’s office’s current oversight role….

Said Minerva Camarena-Skeith, a representative of Austin Interfaith, the nonprofit that helped found Capital IDEA with business community members and advocates for public funding: “It still gives these job-training programs the opportunity to apply for these $5 million, and also be able to leverage more city and local funds.”

[Photo Credit: Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune]

Job Training  Program Adjusts Amid Funding Cuts, Texas Tribune
Governor Signs Bill: $5 Million for Adult Career Training, Network of Texas IAF Organizations