CONGRESSMAN KENNEDY REINTRODUCES CAREER-TECHNICAL EDUCATION BILL
Washington, DC – Congressman Joe Kennedy III today reintroduced the Perkins Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill that would strengthen and support career/technical education (“CTE” or “vocational education”) by using workforce data to ensure that curriculum is aligned with the needs of employers in local labor markets. The bill was reintroduced in the House with Reps Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Jared Polis (D-CO). It is supported by the Massachusetts Business Roundtable and the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators.
“In an increasingly high-skill job market, vocational education is a critical vehicle for ensuring students from all backgrounds are equipped to participate in our modern economy,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Guided by the approach of top-tier vocational schools across the Commonwealth, the Perkins Modernization Act will align the skills of graduating students with the needs of their local economy and prepare them for good jobs in their own back yard.”
First passed in 1984, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act provides federal funding for CTE – or vocational – education across the country. The Perkins Act was last updated by Congress in 2006 and is due for reauthorization. Kennedy’s bill would adjust the legislative language of the Perkins Act to ensure that CTE efforts across the country take into account the trends and projections identified by labor market data. When CTE is informed by labor market data and aligned with the evolving needs of our economy, students graduate ready for competitive employment and lifetime opportunity in the economy’s in-demand industry sectors and occupations. This bill reaffirms and strengthens the important bipartisan purpose of the Perkins Act—preparing CTE students to succeed in the modern workforce.
“The Massachusetts Vocational Technical Education community is excited about Congressman Kennedy’s bill, for it is aligned with one of the strengths of our State’s delivery system,” said David Ferreira, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators. “In-demand occupations should be the focus of new program development in vocational technical education and Perkins funding is the catalyst for initiating these emerging programs. Labor market analysis and the continued partnerships with business and industry will place vocational technical education as a leader in the workforce development system and in stimulating economic development. The Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) fully endorses and supports Congressman Kennedy’s bill.”
“A survey of business leaders in Massachusetts found that 69% cannot find workers with the skills necessary to fill open jobs, and of those jobs, six in ten were STEM jobs,” said JD Chesloff, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. “Regardless of industry, regardless of size of employer, finding talent proficient in STEM skills is crucial. To meet this demand, a reformed Perkins Act will help by aligning the needs of industry with the education and workforce development systems, an essential strategy to improve and impact long-term competitiveness. The Perkins Modernization Act, filed by Congressmen Joseph P. Kennedy, Adam Kinzinger, Rodney Davis, and Jared Polis, is an important bipartisan effort to prepare workers to succeed in the modern economy. The Massachusetts Business Roundtable is grateful for their leadership.”
The Perkins Modernization Act would update current law so that federal investment in career and technical education (CTE) targets the skills demanded by employers in strong and growing industries. By leveraging workforce data and labor market information to clearly identify which sectors and occupations are “in-demand,” this bill would ensure that CTE curriculum remains dynamically rooted in the needs of the American economy and accurately reflects the skills and credentials sought by employers in the labor markets where students plan to work.
“With thousands of Illinoisans still struggling to make ends meet, we need to be doing all we can to help train job-seekers for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). “This bipartisan bill will help ensure that skills being taught are actually in demand in the private sector, giving those looking for work a better chance of finding gainful employment. I want to thank Rep. Kennedy and all the cosponsors of this bill for working together on a solution that represents a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars and will hopefully lead to more people getting jobs in Illinois and around the country.”
"If young people are to succeed in an increasingly global economy, they need to gain the education and experience that today's employers are looking for,” said Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO). “By aligning career and technical education programs with local workforce needs, the Perkins Modernization Act will improve student engagement, increase graduation rates, and ensure that our nation’s workforce has the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century."
"As the needs of our economy continue to change so should our workforce training programs," said Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL). "The Perkins Modernization Act will ensure colleges and universities in the 13th District have the data needed to develop career and technical education programs that give students the best opportunity to find a job upon graduation."