Committee Advances Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Career and Technical Education

WASHINGTON – Today, the Committee on Education and the Workforce approved H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. Introduced by Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-05), the bipartisan legislation will strengthen and improve career and technical education (CTE). Thanks to legislative improvements to increase program accountability, including increased federal oversight and monitoring, the bill passed today is an improvement over the bill passed by the House of Representatives in the 114th Congress. H.R. 2353 is the first step in reauthorizing and reforming the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to ensure all students can participate in and benefit from high-quality CTE programs.

“This legislation is an investment in our students, our workers, and our economy which will help build a workforce prepared for the good-paying jobs of the 21st century,” said Rep. Krishnamoorthi. “The job training, apprenticeship, and technical education programs supported by this bill will help hardworking families across our country join and stay in the middle class. I’m proud to work with my colleagues from both parties to build a more promising future for millions of American students and families.”

“The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is a bill that will ensure that quality CTE and work-based learning opportunities are accessible to all students, regardless of their background,” said Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03). “Each and every student should have access to high-quality CTE programs that provide the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the 21st century economy. While I am pleased that the bill maintains the vital role of the federal government in oversight and enforcement for program quality, improvement, and equity for all students, I will work with our House and Senate colleagues to make additional improvements as the legislative process moves forward.”

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.

“Strengthening and advancing high-quality CTE programs across the country is a priority for our Committee and I am pleased that we worked together to advance this bipartisan legislation,” said Vice Ranking Member Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01). “This important legislation will improve CTE programs that help close the skills gap, engage historically underrepresented students, and create more avenues to higher education and good-paying careers. I remain concerned that the bill rolls back the Department of Education’s fundamental responsibility to hold states accountable for improving ineffective programs, and I will continue to look for opportunities to address this issue as this bill moves through the legislative process.”

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act build on recent reforms to K-12 education and the workforce development system. 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:

  • Provide states more flexibility in the use of federal resources in response to changes in education and the economy.
  • Ensure that 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 that 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 in CTE program practices that have been proven to best serve students and employers.
  • Provide parents, students, and stakeholders a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of state and local CTE 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 the bill, click here.


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