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Members Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Career and Technical Education
Legislation will help more students gain knowledge and skills to succeed in the workforce

Members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce today introduced the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen and improve career and technical education (CTE). Introduced by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), the legislation reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and will help more students gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete for in-demand jobs. 

The proposal is largely identical to legislation the House of Representatives passed in September 2016 by an overwhelming vote of 405 to 5. The committee is expected to consider the legislation in the coming weeks, reflecting the urgent priority to improve career and technical education for today’s and future generations. Members leading the effort issued the following statements after the bill was introduced: 

“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,” Rep. Thompson said. “As Co-Chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus, I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing 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.”

“Preparing our students and workers for good-paying, middle-class jobs through career and technical education is one of the best investments we can make,” Rep. Krishnamoorthi said. “This legislation would modernize and strengthen these vital resources to ensure that students have the skills employers demand in our 21st century economy. The training programs funded by this bill will help hardworking families pursue more fulfilling futures while also supporting our nation’s continued leadership in a global economy.”

“Strengthening career and technical education continues to a leading priority for our committee,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. “We came close last year to enacting reforms that would have provided more Americans with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the workforce. This is simply too important to students, families, and taxpayers, and that is why I am hopeful we will get the job done this year. Representatives Thompson and Krishnamoorthi are to be commended for their leadership, and I look forward to advancing this important bipartisan proposal in the coming weeks.”

“Each and every student should have access to educational programs that provide the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the 21st century economy,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. “Career and technical education programs must meet the needs of the labor market and must also work for students. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is a compromise bill that I believe will ensure that quality career and technical education and work-based learning opportunities are accessible to all students, regardless of their background.”

BACKGROUND: 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, Reps. Thompson and Krishnamoorthi — along with Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), James Langevin (D-RI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Rick Nolan (D-MN) — introduced this proposal. 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.

To read a fact sheet on the bill, click here.

To read a detailed bill summary, click here.

To read the bill, click here.

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