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Congress Passes Bipartisan Workforce Development Bill

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Today, Congress passed the first substantive legislative update to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act since 2006. The new bill, Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), passed the House first in September of 2016 and again in June 2017 with wide bipartisan margins. The measure was stalled in the Senate for a year over questions of secretarial authority. After reaching a compromise, the Senate finally approved the bill with unanimous consent on July 23rd, before the final version was adopted by the House by voice vote this afternoon. H.R. 2353 will now be signed into law by President Trump, who already indicated support for its passage in a tweet on Tuesday night. 

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is aimed towards addressing the growing skills gap in the workforce of the United States. There are an estimated 6.6 million unfilled jobs currently in the US in part due to the inability of employers to find workers with the right or necessary skills. H.R. 2353 commits over a $1 billion of funding to several programs geared towards fostering greater partnerships between the federal, state, and local governments, the business community, and educational institutions. The goals of the legislation are a multitude including: aligning career and technical education programs to needs of the labor markets, supporting effective collaboration between stakeholders, increasing opportunities for work-based learning, developing and expanding industry-recognized universal credentials, and improving accountability and transparency for the implementation of the programmatic changes.

For the past five years, IMA-NA has joined with other stakeholders in pushing for a reauthorization and a federal recommitment to career and technical training programs. A diverse but properly trained workforce is necessary for economic stability and growth. We are happy to see H.R. 2353 on the cusp of being signed into law and are looking forward to supporting the development of the workforce of tomorrow. 

Tags:  career and technical training  legislation  perkins reauthorization  workforce development 

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