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Kaine renews push for career and technical education ahead of State of the Union

After SchoolToday, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, announced that they will renew their push for CTE by sitting together during the State of the Union and introducing bipartisan legislation to better prepare students for 21st-century jobs.

The Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, sponsored by Portman, Kaine, and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI),  would raise the quality of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at schools in Virginia and across the country. The bill would amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to better ensure students have access to the highest quality CTE programs.

“High-quality career and technical education helps students develop skills that meet the needs of 21st-century employers,” said Kaine. “I’m proud to re-introduce this commonsense, bipartisan legislation to raise the quality of CTE programs, and I look forward to joining Senator Portman for the President’s State of the Union tonight as we demonstrate our continued commitment to growing a talented workforce through career and technical education. I’m also honored to welcome Lisa Barnett,Coordinator of CTE for Botetourt County Public Schools, as my guest tonight. Ms. Barnett’s work to promote CTE sets an impressive example for educators across the country.”

“In today’s competitive job market, far too many Americans are finding that they lack the skills they need to get a good-paying job,” said Portman. “This legislation is a step in the right direction toward helping those Americans seeking work acquire the skills they need to connect with a job, and I hope that the President will highlight this important issue during his address.”

The Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would raise the quality of CTE programs by:

  • Defining what constitutes a rigorous CTE curriculum and requiring Perkins grant recipients to incorporate key elements in their programs, including:

o   Credit-transfer agreement opportunities

o   Academic and technical skills assessments to measure student achievement based on industry standards

o   Use of training tools that align with the type of equipment and technology being used by today’s industries

o   CTE-focused professional development for teachers, administrators, and counselors

o   Recruitment and retention plans to ensure highly effective educators and administrators are in place

o   CTE curriculum alignment with local, regional, and state workforce demands

  • Allowing states and localities to use Perkins grant funding to establish CTE-focused academies
  • Improving links between high school and postsecondary education to help ease attainment of an industry-recognized credential, license, apprenticeship, or postsecondary certificate to obtain a job in a high-demand career field
  • Promoting partnerships between local businesses, regional industries and other community stakeholders to create pathways for students to internships, service learning experiences, or apprenticeships as they transition into the workforce or postsecondary education

Numerous career and education groups support the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, including the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), the National Academy Foundation (NAF), the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the National Career Development Association (NCDA).

“Senators Kaine and Portman have proven to be steadfast champions of CTE in the past, and their reintroduction of the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act further demonstrates their commitment to leading on this critical issue,” said LeAnn Wilson, Executive Director of ACTE. “This legislation will ensure that federal funding will support important tenets of successful CTE programs so they can function at their highest capacity, and will support students planning to continue their education beyond high school for a career they feel passionately about.”

Kimberly Green, Executive Director of NASDCTEc also expressed support, saying, “This legislation contains a number of encouraging policy proposals and approaches to ensuring high-quality Career Technical Education is available to secondary and postsecondary students throughout the nation. NASDCTEc wishes to thank Senators Kaine and Portman for their continued support and commitment to CTE.”

Portman and Kaine co-founded the Senate Career & Technical Education Caucus last year in an effort to promote and support career and technical education for both adults and youth looking to acquire skills they need to enter the workforce. They originally introduced the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act in July 2014.




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