Thanks to strong bipartisan support, Congress recently renewed the Perkins Act with a voice vote. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act became law on July 31, 2018 to equip more Americans with the right skills to enter high-skilled and in-demand careers. Passage of the Perkins reauthorization was a major priority of the U.S. Chamber; the Eau Claire Chamber engaged in the efforts by signing a letter of support.
What the act does
With the local and national unemployment rates being so low, employers are having a difficult time finding skilled workers to fill in-demand jobs. Business associations and economic groups across the nation have supported the act’s amended renewal to ensure that secondary and postsecondary educational institutions can effectively offer career and technical education (CTE) curriculum to grow the amount of skilled workers. The law amends the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 and reauthorizes it through the FY 2023 to address that need.
The law focuses on changing funding patterns in order to encourage best practices and innovation for CTE programming, make CTE programs more accessible to students, and give state and local communities more flexibility in managing program funding. “Highlights of the reauthorization include new opportunities for partnerships between employers and educators to improve student preparation for in-demand jobs, measures that improve alignment with other workforce development programs, and increased program accountability,” (U.S. Chamber)
Businesses are in support of the act
Over 450 businesses and economic associations in a letter to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions wrote in support of the act. The U.S. Chamber actively promoted it and issued a Key Vote Alert for members of Congress. Their main reasons for supporting the act are for its ability to:
- Align CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state and local labor market;
- Support effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers;
- Increase student participation in work-based learning opportunities; and
- Promote the use of industry recognized credentials and other recognized postsecondary credentials.
Quick take: Your Primer on the Act (U.S. Chamber)
Statement on Reauthorizing the Act (U.S. Chamber)
Posted by: Kaylee Tracy, Legislative & Workforce Development Intern