Yesterday, the U.S. Senate approved the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act by bipartisan voice vote. This important legislation would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act, which was last reauthorized in 2006.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has been a key supporter of Perkins CTE reauthorization—urging the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to advance a bill and organizing a coalition of nearly 500 business and education groups in support of the program. Earlier this year, NAM members highlighted the need to reauthorize Perkins CTE at multiple hearings before Congress.
According to Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, there will be more than 3.5 million open manufacturing jobs between 2015 and 2025, and of those, it’s anticipated that approximately 2 million will go unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers.
Like the House bill that passed last year, the Senate bill aligns career and technical education with the existing workforce system to prepare students for the modern workplace effectively. The bill also strengthens the use of industry-recognized credentials in educational programs and allows funds to be used toward the purchase of manufacturing equipment and credentialing exams to prepare the future pipeline of manufacturing talent.
The Perkins CTE program supports work-based learning and promotes the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century economy and is vital to preparing the future manufacturing workforce. Yesterday’s Senate vote was an important step toward reauthorizing this critical education program, and manufacturers urge the House to swiftly take up the Senate bill and send the bill to the president’s desk.