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Foxx Statement: Floor Debate on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

When many Americans think of higher education, they think of a traditional college or university on a sprawling green campus. They think of students leaving college and universities with their degree in-hand, ready for a career and set for life.

While many Americans choose this path, there is a misconception that this is the only pathway to success. For many hardworking Americans, the pathway to success does not require a baccalaureate degree.

In fact, skills-focused education has helped countless Americans gain the specialized knowledge and skills they need to enter the workforce and build fulfilling lives.

So many men and women have found success through workforce development programs, however, we have come to a critical juncture with the future of these programs.

And our educational institutions have not caught up. As a result, American businesses large and small are having a hard time finding enough workers with the skills and talent they need.

The bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act — which unanimously passed the House Committee on Education and the Workforce — provides critical reforms to our nation’s education programs and prepares students to compete in our competitive, global economy.

Mister Speaker, all education is truly career education, and we must give our students every opportunity to attain the skills they need to succeed. When students, parents, employers—and yes, lawmakers—understand that, we’ll be on the right track to closing the skills gap that exists in our country.

I want to thank my colleagues, especially Representative Thompson for his leadership on this issue. As the Co-Chairman of the CTE Caucus, he has spent years championing this issue. I also want to thank Ranking Member Scott and Representative Krishnamoorthi, as well as all committee members for the bipartisan work that’s reflected in this bill.

Expanding opportunity through CTE is vital to closing the nation’s skills gap, ending the cycle of poverty, and creating a better tomorrow for hardworking Americans.

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