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Proposed career academies still waiting on federal dollars

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The state director of the Center for Technical Education says federal funding for CTE centers hasn’t materialized – yet.

Wayde Sick said the money is to come from coronavirus relief funds. He said his agency submitted the plan to the US Treasury Department back in February, after the state Legislature said the money was to be used for CTE centers and for broadband expansion.

"To date, the state has received questions concerning the broadband portion," Sick said. "We have not heard any feedback on the CTE side."

Sick said he has made inquiries to Treasury on the status of those funds.

"The response we receive is, 'We are in the process of reviewing, and we will contact you with any questions,'" Sick said. "That's what we know as of now."

Sick said for the projects that have been selected to receive the money, there is a new concern as well – construction inflation.

"I'm hearing estimates of anywhere between 20 and 30 percent higher construction costs, compared to what they submitted in December," Sick said. "Those costs continue to rise."

Sick said inflation is a big concern — for himself, and the grantees as well.

"Being able to deliver what they said they would deliver for the same price — it's going to be difficult," Sick said.

A dollar-for-dollar match was required to receive the federal dollars. Sick said one of the projects has decided to go ahead and use the matching money to get the projects started – but most are holding off until the federal money is in-hand.

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