Enzi and others behind bill that could revive tech/vocational schools

WYOMING – Much has been discussed in recent years concerning the lack of an alternative to college—particularly the disappearance of many vocational and job training schools.

A bipartisan coalition helped pass legislation that could pave the way to create an educational environment suited to teach high school graduates the skills they need to compete for today’s jobs.

US Senators Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., along with Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Ranking Member Patty Murray, D-Wash., applauded the Senate’s passage of legislation to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act would make important, necessary updates to career and technical education to give workers and students the skills they need to find high-skill, high-wage or in-demand jobs.

“It is wonderful that the Senate was able to pass the reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act with such strong bipartisan support,” Enzi said. “It is a testament to all those who worked together over the years to focus on what is important, supporting learning opportunities for students to gain technical skills and knowledge. Career and technical education is an increasingly important part of preparing Americans to enter and thrive in the modern workforce and this legislation will help strengthen these programs for the future.”

“This legislation is about providing students and workers with the skills they need to compete for good paying jobs today and in the future,” Casey said. “I urge the House to pass this legislation so that it can be signed into law”

“The reauthorization passed by the Senate today makes important updates to current law, including limiting the role of the Department of Education so states don’t have to ask ‘Mother May I?,’ when they want to make changes to do what is best for their students and increases expectations that states will hold themselves accountable for student achievement,” Alexander said. “What I hear most often from Tennessee employers is that they need more skilled workers. The Perkins CTE Act funds the programs that help train those skilled workers—for example, a high school student wanting to become a computer coder, or an adult going back to school to learn about commercial construction.”

“As so many families struggle to find good-paying jobs and so many companies struggle to find skilled workers, I’m proud to work with my colleagues across the aisle to reauthorize and pass this important law that will help our students, workers, businesses, and communities compete in the 21st century economy,” Murray said. “I’m glad we were able push partisanship aside and work together to invest in students and workers by giving them the education, skills and training they need to get better jobs and higher wages—and I’m pleased we able to include accountability measures to help improve programs and ensure students and workers aren’t falling through the cracks. I urge the White House to sign this bill into law as soon as possible to ensure students, workers, and businesses can succeed in our changing economy.”

 The first reauthorization of the Perkins CTE Act since 2006, this legislation would encourage states, schools and local CTE providers to update education and job training to meet the needs of the local economies, ensuring students have the skills needed to remain competitive. It would also increase alignment with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and promote collaboration between stakeholders so that local businesses can communicate their needs to states and educators as strategies and programs are developed.

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