WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, Sept. 13, the U.S. House passed Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s bill, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.
The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Clark and Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson to reauthorize and reform federal career and technical education (CTE) programs that support over 11 million American students annually.
CTE programs help students pursue careers in fields as diverse as advanced manufacturing, carpentry, child care, computer science, automotive technology, culinary arts, and more. The bill reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to provide federal support to state career and technical education programs that provide students the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to succeed in the today’s competitive marketplace.
“Millions of students and workers are eager to advance in good paying, high demand technical careers,” said Rep. Clark, in a statement. “Their work is critical to the nation’s continued leadership in a 21st century global economy. Today’s passage of our bill to strengthen career and technical education programs is a victory for millions of hardworking families who deserve a path to success. Now, I call on Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to come together and pass similar commonsense legislation.”
“The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is a huge step forward toward connecting students with in-demand jobs that offer family sustaining wages,” Thompson said. “I appreciate Rep. Clark’s commitment to working in a bipartisan manner and her partnership in making this bill possible today.”
Since 1984, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act has provided federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. These programs offer students the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to compete for jobs in a broad range of fields, such as health care and technology. However, because federal law has not been updated in more than a decade, it no longer reflects the realities and challenges facing students and workers.
Building on recent reforms to K-12 education and the workforce development system, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act will:
- 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.
- 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.
- Deliver states more flexibility to use federal resources in response to changing education and economic needs.
- 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 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.