The House Committee on Education and the Workforce today approved H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. Introduced by Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA), the legislation reauthorizes and reforms the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to help more Americans enter the workforce with the skills they need to compete for high-skilled, in-demand jobs. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 37 to 0.
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, Reps. Thompson and Clark—along with Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Jim Langevin (D-RI), and Rick Nolan (D-MN)—introduced the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The bipartisan 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
- 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.