Barletta Backs Career & Technical Education Reforms
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today backed bipartisan legislation that reforms and strengthens Career and Technical Education (CTE) policy to help more Americans enter the workforce with the expertise they need to compete for high-skilled, in-demand jobs. A co-sponsor of the bill, Barletta voted for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587), which improves and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The bill passed the House by a vote of 405-to-5 and now heads to the Senate for its consideration. Barletta, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, also supported the bill when it passed the committee by a unanimous vote of 37-to-0 in July.
“For the student of today, non-traditional is the new traditional,” Barletta said. “A four-year, debt-laden college degree is simply not for everyone. However, our laws on career and technical education have not been updated in over a decade.”
Since 1984, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act has provided federal support to state and local 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 ten years, it no longer reflects the realities and challenges facing students and workers.
“Back home, I hear from employers who have jobs to offer, but struggle to find skilled workers,” Barletta said. “New technologies create exciting employment opportunities – and if we want to maintain our position as a global economic leader, then our workforce must be able to set the pace.
Building on recent reforms to the K-12 education and the workforce development system, the bipartisan legislation will:
- Deliver states more flexibility to use federal resources in response to changing education and economic needs.
- 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 technical fields.
- Improve alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships with local businesses, 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 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.