The Senate HELP Committee cancelled a mark-up of the Senate version of Perkins CTE reauthorization this week. Perhaps negotiations are ongoing and a bipartisan agreement will emerge, but the window for action is quickly closing.
Manufacturers have advanced key issues in the 114th Congress, even during a time when some of the most contentious factions exist within the House of Representatives. Earlier this month, the House compromised to approve (405-5) similar legislation that the Senate is struggling to agree on during this compressed September schedule. This is a program in need of positive change, and legislating does not need to be this challenging.
The Senate needs to put its differences aside and work together to get Perkins done. If the Senate does not put skin in the game soon, it may well be game over for Perkins CTE reauthorization in this congressional round—leaving the next Congress to start from square one. So much work has been accomplished to get to this point, it would be unfortunate to jettison this important effort that supports the next generation of manufacturing workers.
Manufacturers are actively working on solutions to close a skills gap that is hindering productivity and the overall ability for American manufacturers to be more innovative and competitive in the global market. They continue to engage on a local level to communicate the skills they are looking for. They are partnering with educational institutions to develop programs and working with local governments to drive the change needed to remedy the skills gap. Without an updated Perkins—which reflects the needs of the modern employer—they lose their competitive edge.
“When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game. But you don’t get a win unless you play in the game. Oh, you get love for it, you get hate for it. You get nothing if you wait for it, wait for it, wait for it…” Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton