Senate Passes Workforce Training Bill

Perkins Career and Technical Education Act reauthorized

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer July 24, 2018
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​The U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation overhauling the nation's career and technical education law. 

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act for the first time since 2006. The law provides federal funding—over $1 billion—for state and local career and technical education programs, while modifying how such funds are used to better target critical skills gaps.

The bill now heads back to the House for approval of the Senate's changes. The House passed its own version of the bill in 2017.

The legislation would:

  • Align career and technical education programs to the needs of local labor markets.
  • Encourage stronger engagement between local employers and educational institutions.
  • Increase work-based learning opportunities.
  • Improve accountability and data transparency.

Mixed Review

The Association for Career and Technical Education and Advance CTE, which advocate for workforce training improvements, said in a joint statement that the bill falls short.

"We look forward to working with the committees in both chambers to clarify the legislative language to ensure that there are no unintended consequences that result in setting unambitious performance targets, lower[ing] academic standards for CTE students, or forc[ing]states and programs to meet onerous administrative requirements instead of focusing on providing high-quality CTE programs," the groups said.

(Inside Higher Ed)

Trump Orders Expansion of Work-Based Learning

The Trump administration has pushed for Congress to update the CTE law as part of its broader efforts to boost apprenticeships, job training and the reskilling of U.S. workers. President Donald Trump issued an executive order June 15 to expand apprenticeships and vocational training.

(SHRM Online)

Workforce Development Proposals Before Congress

Additional bills sitting in both legislative chambers would have a positive impact on closing the national skills gap, according to workforce development advocates.

(SHRM Online)

SHRM Joins the Effort

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) joined the Trump administration's national initiative to expand workforce training by committing to educate and prepare more than 127,000 HR professionals through the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification programs over the next five years. SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, signed the new Pledge to the American Worker on July 19.

(SHRM Online)


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