Career and Technical Education Reauthorization Moves in U.S. Senate

Last month, CEO Council staff as well as key members of the College Presidents’ Alliance and the Chamber’s Education and Talent Action Team traveled to Washington, D.C. to join industry, academia, associations, and other Chambers across Pennsylvania to discuss reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act) with Senator Bob Casey, Jr., a leading voice on the issue in Congress.  The meeting provided an update on negotiations by Senator Casey and feedback from participants on reauthorization measures important to our community.

The CEO Council is focused on creating clear pathways for the alignment between job seekers and employers. One important way to assure that the region benefits from an educated and skilled workforce is the reauthorization of the Perkins Act.  High-quality CTE programs, supported by the Perkins Act, are an effective tool for improving student outcomes and help prepare both secondary and post-secondary students with the necessary academic, technical, and employability skills required for successful entry into the workforce. CTE prepares students both for college and careers and are critical to meeting the needs of the 21st century economy.

Since our meeting, the Senate Education Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act  by a unanimous voice vote, sending the bill to the Senate floor for consideration. In the first session of this Congress, the U.S. House approved with unanimous support bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Perkins Act.  In 2016, the House passed similar legislation with overwhelming support, but the bill did not receive Senate consideration.

The CEO Council has joined businesses and associations nationwide in pushing Senate leaders to reauthorize the Perkins Act as a way to help ensure a quality employee pipeline for employers and access to in-demand and high paying jobs for America’s workforce.  We appreciate your feedback relative to the House and Senate versions of the Perkins Act so that we may carry the message to members of our regional congressional delegation.