The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is the first major overhaul to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act since 2006.
Co-sponsor Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., called the bill’s passage “a win for the American worker.”
“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,” said bill co-sponsor Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D.-Ill. “Our country needs more good-paying, family-supporting jobs, and this legislation will help prepare students for them.”
The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act provides federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. According to the bill’s sponsors, the bipartisan legislation will:
- Give 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.
“I have my own experience with non-traditional education,” said Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R.-Pa. “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.”