During a tour of the Valley Career and Technical Center in Fishersville today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine announced new bipartisan legislation to raise the quality of career and technical education (CTE) programs at schools in Virginia and across the country.
The Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to better meet the needs of a 21st century workforce and ensure students have access to the highest-quality CTE programs. Kaine, co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, plans to introduce the bill with co-chair Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) when the Senate reconvenes next week.
“I’m very passionate about career and technical education and I’m committed to raising the profile of CTE programs, whether they are offered through PreK-12 education, independent technical centers like this one, or community colleges,” Kaine said in Fishersville. “I’m proud to announce the EducatingTomorrow’s Workforce Act, which improves the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act by raising the quality of programs and allowing states and localities to fund CTE academies like the Governor’s Academies we established in Virginia.”
“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,” Portman stated. “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.”
Kaine, who grew up working in his dad’s ironworking shop and later spearheaded the creation of Governor’s Career and Technical Academies in Virginia – now Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academies – has made improving and strengthening access to CTE a top priority in the Senate.
The Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to 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:
- Credit-transfer agreement opportunities
- Academic and technical skills assessments to measure student achievement based on industry standards
- Use of training tools that align with the type of equipment and technology being used by today’s industries
- CTE-focused professional development for teachers, administrators, and counselors
- Recruitment and retention plans to ensure highly effective educators and administrators are in place
- CTE curriculum alignment with local, regional, and state workforce demands
- Allowing states and localities to use Perkins grant funding to establish CTE-focused academies like the Governor’s Academies in Virginia established by then-Governor Kaine
- 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