House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Career and Technical Education

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act by voice vote. This bipartisan legislation will strengthen and improve career and technical education (CTE). Thanks to legislative improvements to increase program accountability, including increased federal oversight and monitoring, the bill passed today is an improvement over the bill passed by the House in the 114th Congress.

Each and every student should have access to educational programs that provide the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the 21st-century economy,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is a bill that will ensure that quality CTE and work-based learning opportunities are accessible to all students, regardless of their background. I am pleased that this bill maintains the vital role of the federal government in oversight and enforcement for program quality, improvement, and equity for all students. Today’s strong bipartisan House vote is the first step to comprehensive reauthorization, and I look forward to further improving the legislation as the process moves forward.”

Introduced by Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), James Langevin (RI-02), Katherine Clark (MA-05), and Rick Nolan (MN-08), the legislation reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and will help more students gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete for in-demand jobs.

“Apprenticeships and career education are vital to closing the skill gap, growing our economy, and giving every student the chance to succeed,” said Rep. Krishnamoorthi. “I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues to pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act which will do exactly that by modernizing these programs and increasing cooperation with employers. Investing in CTE programs and linking classroom education with in-demand career skills will help students, businesses, and our economy as a whole.”

“Career and technical education provides students of all ages with the skills they need to succeed in high-demand, high-paying, high-skill jobs, which is why I’m so pleased the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act passed the House today,” said Rep. Langevin, co-chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus. “This bill increases investment in CTE and strengthens programs across the country by aligning curricula with industry needs, promoting apprenticeships, and supporting career counselors, all of which will help build a skilled workforce that can compete successfully in the modern economy.”  

Since 1984, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act has provided federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. These programs offer students the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to compete for jobs in a broad range of fields.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act build on recent reforms to K-12 education and the workforce development system. The bipartisan legislation will improve current CTE policies to help more Americans gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Specifically, the legislation will:

  • Provide states more flexibility in the use of federal resources in response to changes in education and the economy.
  • Ensure that career and technical education prepares all students, including historically disadvantaged and vulnerable students, for success in high-skill, high-wage occupations and careers in nontraditional fields.
  • Improve alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers.
  • Enhance career and technical education through increased focus on employability skills, work-based learning opportunities, and meaningful credentialing, so students are prepared to enter the workforce poised for success.
  • Streamline performance measures to ensure that career and technical education programs deliver results for students and taxpayers.
  • Reduce administrative burdens and simplify the process for states to apply for federal resources.
  • Reward success and innovation in CTE program practices that have been proven to best serve students and employers.
  • Provide parents, students, and stakeholders a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of state and local CTE programs.
  • Empower state and local leaders to develop plans that improve the quality of career and technical education and take into account unique ‎local and state needs.

To read a fact sheet on the bill, click here.

To read the bill, click here.

Press Contact

Arika Trim, 202-226-0853 (Scott)
Wilson Baldwin, 202-225-3711 (Krishnamoorthi)
Anita Baffoni, 202-225-2735 (Langevin)