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'Career Academies' waiting on federal funding

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The director of North Dakota’s Department of Career and Technical Education says federal funding for the construction of career academies across the state is still being held up in Washington.

"The answer still isn't 'no,'" said Wayde Sick. "Obviously, they;re still reviewing the grant plan."

Wayde Sick said 11 projects were chosen, amounting to $68.3 million. The money comes from federal COVID relief. A local funding match is required.

Sick said the state’s Congressional delegation is working to get that money released.

There have been some ground-breakings for the academies. Sick said those projects are using local matching money, and other federal dollars from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund – known as “ESSER.”

"I believe the funds will still come," Sick said. "It's just taking longer than we expected."

Meanwhile, Sick said he plans to ask the 2023 Legislature for more funding for those centers.

"The grantees that have been awarded the money have informed us that inflation for construction has gone up drastically, which I think we're all aware of," Sick said. "But their concern is they can no longer deliver what they said they were going to deliver, with the grant amount that they have."

Sick said he will be asking for a $40 million “inflationary impact fund.”

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