Updated: Dec 23, 2020
A big win for language advocates - Congress includes $15M for the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants program in FY21 omnibus appropriations bills.
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The original press release from Representative Price's office can be found here
WASHINGTON, DC (December 22, 2020) – Today, Congressman David Price (D-NC) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK) announced that $15 million to begin the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants program was included in the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) omnibus appropriations bill. This program was originally authorized in December 2019 as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It was based on the World Language Advancement and Readiness Act (H.R. 1094), a bill introduced by Reps. Price and Young in response to reports highlighting the shortfalls in language and cultural skills in the United States.
These shortfalls are unfortunately also found in our nation’s military and intelligence communities, which could threaten our national security, priorities, and missions around the globe. This new program will allow the federal government to provide support for high-quality world language programs in Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools and school systems nationwide that host a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program.
“Studies show that the U.S. lags behind its global peers in language and cultural skills, and the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants program is a first step towards correcting these deficiencies and ensuring better opportunities for students and educators,” said Congressman Price. “I'm pleased this year’s government funding bill includes $15 million in funding to stand up this grant program, improving our national competitiveness in an increasingly globalized world.”
"We should be doing all we can to ensure that America's students are equipped to become leaders in business and civic life," said Congressman Don Young. "I have been a longtime advocate for advancing language and cultural skills. I am pleased that the omnibus includes first-ever funding for the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants program, created in partnership with my good friend, Congressman David Price. This funding will help America keep pace with other nations by providing the language education our students need to secure good jobs, achieve success in global marketplaces, and successfully navigate multi-lingual business environments. Funding will also support building a pipeline for growing experts in the languages critical to our national defense. I am grateful to my colleagues for supporting this vital program, and will continue working for an America that leads the world in language skills and development."
"The World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants program defines a new and essential pathway for the growth of programs that empower students to become multilingual, globally prepared citizens," said Rita A. Oleksak, President of the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies. "By funding this program, Congress demonstrates that it understands that strong world language programs create a sustainable pipeline of multilingual talent critical to our country's economic and national security. JNCL-NCLIS is grateful for the leadership of Representatives Price and Young in authorizing and now appropriating funding for this vital language program."
Join us this February for Virtual Language Advocacy Days 2021 as we continue to advocate for world languages.