Rebuilding America’s Middle Class (RAMC) strongly supports the bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to strengthen career and technical education.
Introduced by Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA), the bill reauthorizes and reforms the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and is designed to prepare more Americans to enter the workforce with the skills they need to compete for in-demand jobs.
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. However, because federal law has not been updated in more than a decade, it no longer reflects the current realities and challenges facing students, the workforce at large and employers
The CTE reauthorization bill includes many critical updates, including: better accounting of students who concentrate their studies in CTE courses or programs of study;expanding dual enrollment and early college high school opportunities; strengthening the ability of individual states and locals to use federal resources in response to local economic needs and employment opportunities; and building better partnerships between CTE providers, such as community colleges and employers.
In addition to these provisions, we believe the bill could be strengthened by language seeking to better coordinate the effort of secondary and postsecondary CTE. CTE programs of study that span secondary and postsecondary levels provide some of the most comprehensive educational experiences for students. The most powerful of these efforts involve close work between both levels of CTE programs. We would urge the Committee to adopt provisions which would encourage secondary and postsecondary recipients of CTE funds to work together to strengthen these efforts.
At RAMC, we are pleased by this bipartisan effort to provide skills training for in-demand jobs to students across the nation. The importance of career and technical education has never been higher, and we believe that this bill creates clear pathways for students eager to pursue employment in career and technical fields.
As leaders of some of our country’s largest community colleges and community college systems, we are fully aware of the need for more and better job training, and we believe we are uniquely positioned to help bridge the gap between higher education and the needs of the American workforce. As the Committee moves forward on this legislation, RAMC will provide a formal letter of support to Representatives Thompson and Clark as well as Committee leadership.