June 26, 2018

Senate CTE Caucus Supports Bill to Strengthen Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  In the Senate HELP Committee, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.), a co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, voted today to advance the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act out of the Committee. The bill represents a bipartisan compromise to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Important components of the bill include better alignment with workforce needs and preserving accountability measures designed by states and localities. The bill passed unanimously out of the HELP Committee by voice vote. 

This legislation includes provisions related to a number of different bills sponsored and introduced by members of the CTE caucus including the SHOP CLASS Act (S.1501), the SUCCESS Act (S. 3081), the Perkins Fund for Equity and Excellence (S. 1004) and the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act (S. 628). Senator Young joins fellow Senate CTE Caucus members, Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Senator Rob Portman (R-Oh.) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi.), in celebrating this historic vote.

“Career and technical education programs have not been updated since 2006. Today’s bipartisan committee vote marks a major step in getting CTE reauthorization to the finish line,” said Senator Young. “This legislation would update education and job training programs to align them with the current needs of our workforce, while still preserving accountability at the state and local levels. Bringing CTE into the 21st century is the key to providing Hoosiers with more opportunities for high-wage and high-demand jobs.”

“We have waited years to address our policies’ shortfalls in preparing students for good, in-demand jobs,” said Senator Kaine.“We need to invest in education training programs so we have more skilled workers in this country. I hear it from manufacturers and business owners across Virginia. Career and technical education programs are proven solutions for creating jobs, retraining workers, and ensuring students from all ages and walks of life are prepared with the skills they need for a successful career. That starts with exposing students to more career possibilities at a younger age and making sure we have the teachers to train them. This is a great step toward closing the skills gap and ensuring all our students are ready to compete in a global economy.” 

“When I travel Ohio, employers of all sizes stress the urgent need to bridge the skills gap,” said Senator Portman. “Ohioans should have the chance to acquire the training needed for today’s jobs, and this legislation ensures that is possible, regardless of economic standing. I’m also pleased that this legislation includes my Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, which will improve the quality of CTE programs so kids get a better education using the equipment and the standards of today’s industry. This legislation also includes important accountability information for our most vulnerable students on how well CTE programs are performing so we can ensure quality information and access to programs that meet the needs of students and parents. I want to thank Chairman Alexander and my colleagues in the Senate CTE Caucus for leading on this issue.”

“I’ve heard firsthand from students, businesses and manufacturers in Wisconsin and it’s clear that we need to do more to support career and technical education so people are better equipped for the high-skilled jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Senator Baldwin.“Career and Technical Education has shown to be one of the most effective ways to respond to our workforce readiness needs so I’m proud to work across party lines on this effort.”

The bill to reauthorize career and technical education provides direct funding to states and localities to prepare students for 21st century jobs. Half of all STEM jobs currently require less than a bachelor’s degree, and health care occupations are expected to grow 18% by 2026. Provisions in the bill require states and localities to demonstrate alignment with economic needs and promote collaboration with workforce development boards and businesses. The Secretary of Education cannot dictate accountability standards to states and allows states to determine their levels of performance and is also allowed to fund innovative initiatives that are designed by locals.