House Approves Perkins Reauthorization to Strengthen Career and Technical Education

Jun 22, 2017 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education, Vote

Today, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to strengthen and improve career and technical education and give Americans the skills they need to compete for in-demand jobs. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), which reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, was introduced by Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus co-chairs Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), along with Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Rick Nolan (D-MN).This is the first major overhaul of the program since 2006.

“Today’s vote is a win for the American worker,” said Representative Thompson. “Given the dramatic evolution of our nation’s workforce, it is imperative that we create clear pathways to education and training for students interested in pursuing careers in high-demand industries and technical fields. As Co-Chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus, I am proud to join my colleagues in approving the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act — a well-engineered, bipartisan reauthorization aimed at permanently closing our nation’s skills gap. This bill will work to restore rungs on the ladder of opportunity for every American regardless of age or background.”

“At a time when thousands of jobs in manufacturing, information technology, and other skilled trades remain unfilled, it is vital that we invest in CTE, which is why I’m pleased that the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act passed the House today,” said Representative Langevin. “This legislation aligns CTE programs with industry needs, improves collaboration among community stakeholders, promotes work-based learning, and supports career counselors, all while strengthening federal investment in CTE. This bill will go a long way toward improving and expanding CTE programs in Rhode Island and across the country.”

BACKGROUND ON THE BILL

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act provides federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. Building on recent reforms to K-12 education and the workforce development system, the bipartisan legislation will improve current CTE policies to help more Americans gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Specifically, the legislation will:

  • Deliver states more flexibility to use federal resources in response to changing education and economic needs.
  • Ensure career and technical education prepares all students, including historically disadvantaged and vulnerable students, for success in high-skill, high-wage occupations and careers in nontraditional fields.
  • Improve alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers.
  • Enhance career and technical education through increased focus on employability skills, work-based learning opportunities, and meaningful credentialing so students are prepared to enter the workforce poised for success.
  • Streamline performance measures to ensure career and technical education programs deliver results for students and taxpayers.
  • Reduce administrative burdens and simplify the process for states to apply for federal resources.
  • Reward success and innovation by directing federal resources to replicate promising practices that best serve students and employers.
  • Provide parents, students, and stakeholders a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of state and local programs.
  • Empower state and local leaders to develop plans that improve the quality of career and technical education and take into account unique ‎local and state needs.