House Passes Bill to Improve Career & Technical Education
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for, and the House unanimously passed, bipartisan legislation to help prepare Americans to enter the workforce with the skills they need to compete for high-skilled, in-demand jobs. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, H.R. 2353, strengthens and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
“If we want to maintain our position as a global leader and truly compete in the world economy, then our workforce must be able to set the pace,” Barletta said. “I often hear from local employers who say they have jobs, but cannot find the workers to fill them. This legislation will provide much-needed resources to equip students with the skills they will need to fill good-paying jobs.”
CTE 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, our workforce development programs no longer reflect the realities and challenges facing students and workers. H.R. 2353 improves how government invests in the American workforce and strengthens American competitiveness and jobs training.
Specifically, the 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 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 state and 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.
As part of his commitment to closing the skills gap and supporting CTE programs, in May, Barletta participated in a press conference at Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) with state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Carbon/Luzerne) and representatives from higher education and workforce development advocacy groups to discuss the importance of reauthorizing the Perkins Act. Barletta then toured LCCC and met with students learning various trade skills.
“Learning trade skills offered by community colleges like LCCC is a pathway forward for our country right now,” Barletta said. “Reauthorizing the Perkins Act ensures programs like these can continue to help our students meet the demands of job opportunities available to them here in Pennsylvania and across the country.”