House Approves Perkins Reauthorization to Strengthen Career and Technical Education
WASHINGTON – 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.
Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced 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. This is the first major overhaul to the program since 2006.
“Today’s vote is a win for the American worker,” Rep. Thompson said. “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.”
“Career and technical education will continue to play an essential role in our country’s economy and I’m proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to strengthen and modernize it,” Rep. Krishnamoorthi said. “This legislation will grow our economy and close the skills gap by bringing businesses and educators together to build training programs that will prepare students for in-demand careers. Our country needs more good-paying, family-supporting jobs and this legislation will help prepare students for them. I want to thank my co-lead, Congressman Thompson, his CTE Caucus Co-Chair, Congressman Langevin, as well as Chairwoman Foxx and Ranking Member Scott who came together to make this possible.”
“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 Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus. “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.”
“I have my own experience with non-traditional education,” Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) said. “I took college courses at night while operating a small construction company during the day. Countless students across Pennsylvania and the nation have similar experiences, and we should make it easier for them to compete in today’s 21st century economy. My district is home to multiple CTE schools, and I’ve heard directly that they want to expand their programs to students who are ready to learn and eager to work. This legislation will help businesses and schools collaborate to ensure students gain the necessary skills to get in-demand, family-sustaining jobs. I am proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation, and want to thank Reps. Thompson and Krishnamoorthi for carrying this across the finish line.”
Immediately following the bill’s passage Career and Technical Education leaders in the House gathered on the House Triangle for a news conference to discuss the reauthorization of the Perkins Act. The following original cosponsors attended: Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Rick Nolan (D-MN). CTE industry leaders and business stakeholders were also in attendance including: LeAnn Wilson, Executive Director, ACTE (Association for Career and Technical Education); Kim Green, Executive Director, Advance CTE; Stan Litow, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM; Eleanor Kerr, Director, Government Affairs, Siemens Healthineers.
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, 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.