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Committee Unanimously Approves Bill to Strengthen CTE

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), today approved with unanimous support bipartisan legislation to improve career and technical education (CTE). Introduced by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) updates federal CTE policies to help more students gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete for in-demand jobs. The proposal is largely identical to legislation the House of Representatives passed in September 2016 by an overwhelming vote of 405 to 5.

“Today, my colleagues and I voted to advance bipartisan legislation that will help many Americans obtain the education and foundational skills they need to achieve a lifetime of success,” Rep. Thompson said. “As Co-Chairman of the Career and Technical Education Caucus, I value the opportunity to improve workforce readiness through high-quality technical skills and remain dedicated to seeing this important bill signed into law.”

“This bill is about ensuring all Americans can pursue multiple pathways to success,” Chairwoman Foxx said. “Career and technical education has long made a positive difference for students and communities, despite the false perception it’s somehow less valuable than a bachelor's degree. We must continue to improve the narrative about CTE, and just as importantly, we must update our CTE policies to reflect the realities of today’s economy. That’s why I am proud to support this legislation, which will increase transparency, improve accountability, and help prepare students for in-demand jobs. I am grateful for Representative Thompson’s longstanding leadership on this critical issue and look forward to continuing to advance this important bill.”

BACKGROUND: The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act provides federal support to state and local career and technical education programs. Building on recent reforms to K-12 education and the workforce development system, Reps. Thompson and Krishnamoorthi introduced this proposal. The bipartisan legislation will improve current CTE policies to help more Americans gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Specifically, the legislation:

  • Empowers state and local community leaders by simplifying the application process for receiving federal funds and providing more flexibility to use federal resources to respond to changing education and economic needs;
  • Improves alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers;
  • Increases transparency and accountability by streamlining performance measures to ensure CTE programs deliver results, empowering parents, students, and stakeholders with a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of local programs; and
  • Ensures a limited federal role by reining in the secretary of education’s authority, limiting federal intervention, and preventing political favoritism.

To read a fact sheet on the bill, click here.

To read a detailed bill summary, click here.

To read the bill, click here.

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