Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Clark, Langevin, Nolan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Career and Technical Education

Jul 5, 2016
Press Release
Legislation will help more Americans obtain knowledge, skills for in-demand careers

Led by Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05) on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, policymakers from across the aisle today introduced the Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act. Introduced by Reps. Clark, Jim Langevin (RI-02), Co-Chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus, and Rick Nolan (MN-08), and Republican Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05), Carolos Curbelo (FL-26) and Bradley Byrne (AL-01), the legislation reauthorizes and modernizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and will help more Americans enter the workforce with the skills they need to compete for high-skilled, in-demand careers.

“Every student deserves a fair chance to earn the skills needed to thrive in the modern workforce,” said Rep. Clark. “That's why I'm introducing the bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act for the 21st Century Act. This bill ensures our career and technical education system is flexible enough to adapt to the needs of emerging industries, is accountable to ensure every child has a chance to succeed, and is providing robust support for our educators. I look forward to working with the House Education and Workforce Committee to pass it into law.”

Data shows CTE is a powerful tool for engaging students and improving student outcomes. This bill prioritizes equity to give every student the opportunity to reap the benefits of these programs.

“Education should reflect the demands of the economy, and this Perkins Act reauthorization is a positive step forward in better connecting classrooms to careers. It supports career and technical education programs and hands-on learning opportunities that will ensure our young people are well informed and prepared for careers of the future,” said Rep. Langevin. “Career and technical education is key to a strong workforce and pays dividends for our economy, so I am proud to support this reauthorization as a solid investment in the work-based learning opportunities that set our students and our nation on a path to success.”

“The heart of our economic success as a nation is education and preparation of our youth,” Rep. Nolan said. “And as a former teacher, I know there is no better investment than in the education of our next generation. Reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is a tremendous step forward in providing much needed support for career and technical education programs, which provide good-paying jobs to help strengthen our American workforce and provide incomparable opportunities for students.”

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. 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 a decade, it no longer reflects the realities and challenges facing students and workers.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act would:

  • Ensure state and local CTE programs are preparing all students, including historically disadvantaged and vulnerable students, for success in high-skill, high-wage occupations aligned to regional and local workforce needs;
  • Improve alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers;
  • Improve CTE program quality through increased focus on employability skills, work-based learning opportunities, and meaningful credentialing that ensures students are prepared to enter the workforce poised for success;
  • Streamline performance measures to ensure CTE programs deliver results for students and taxpayers.
  • Improve CTE program access and services for special populations and students pursuing careers in nontraditional fields;
  • Reward success and innovation in delivery of CTE programs by directing federal resources to replicate and scale promising practices that best serve students and employers;
  • Provide parents, students, and stakeholders to have a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of local programs; and
  • Hold state and local programs accountable for supporting all student and empower state and local leaders to develop improvement plans necessary to improve CTE program quality that take into account unique local and state needs and circumstances.

To read a fact sheet on the bill, click here