Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, introduced bipartisan legislation to raise the quality of CTE programs at schools in Virginia, Ohio and across the country. The Educating Tomorrow’sWorkforce Act amends 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.
“It is essential for the U.S. to invest in creating a world-class system of education across the spectrum to ensure we have the technically skilled and well-trained workforce we need. That is why Senator Portman and I are introducing this bill, the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act,” Kaine said in remarks on the Senate floor today (full transcript HERE). “In today’s world, talent is our most precious asset. … We’ve got to make policy changes to our education programs and match what we did in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act reauthorization to prepare our students for a 21st century workforce. I very much hope that the Senate moves forward on the Carl D. Perkins Act this year and I’m honored to have Senator Portman as the cosponsor of this legislation.”
“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 amends 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:
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, principals, 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 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
Numerous career and education groups support the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, including the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the National Academy Foundation (NAF), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC), and the National Career Development Association (NCDA).
“These senators have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the career and technical education community,” said LeAnn Wilson, Executive Director of ACTE. “We are fortunate to have them as partners on Capitol Hill.”
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.”