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CTE Director: Federal funding for new career academies should be forthcoming soon

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The director of the North Dakota’s Career and Technical Education Office said it appears the state could finally have the approval to use federal COVID relief money for career academies across the state.

The 2021 Special Legislative Session approved $68 million for those academies from the relief funds. But it needs approval from the Treasury.

CTE director Wayde Sick said he has now received word that Treasury is in the final stages of approving the use of that money for the academies. He said last week, he answered one more question from Treasury about the spending.

"They seem satisfied with it," Sick said in an interview. "They just had to check their boxes, to insure that we would be good stewards of the dollars, and deliver what we say we're going to deliver. I think we're in a good spot."

Sick said that will mean the projects approved for the federal money won’t have to access the line of credit through the Bank of North Dakota – which the Legislature approved as a contingency. He said there has been some concern about “construction inflation,” meaning costs for building the academies has gone up. But Sick said the 2023 Legislature also addressed that.

"In the Information Technology budget, there was a clause included that if there is any unused broadband money, as of Oct.1, 2023, those dollars would be transferred over to Career and Technical Education, to address any inflationary impacts," Sick said.

Sick said that could be between $7 million and $8 million.

Sick said a number of projects have already started construction, on the hope that the dollars would come. And he said other projects are in the bid process.

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