U.S. Chamber Staff


July 31, 2018


Fill me in: Congress last week passed and the president today signed legislation reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides important funding for programs focused on the academic, career, and technical skills development for high school and higher education students. Highlights of the reauthorization include new opportunities for partnerships between employers and educators to improve student preparation for in-demand jobs, measures that improve alignment with other workforce development programs, and increased program accountability. The legislation garnered sweeping bipartisan support en route to President Trump.

Why does it matter? With the American economy approaching full employment, and with more jobs available than there are workers to fill them, it’s more important than ever to provide today’s students with the skills they need to succeed in the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow. This legislation – which represents the first major education bill signed into law by President Trump – helps align career and technical education (CTE) programs with the needs of regional, state, and local labor markets, encourages effective collaboration between employers and secondary and postsecondary institutions, and promotes student participation in work-based learning. It also improves accountability and transparency to ensure CTE programs are adequately preparing students for in-demand jobs.

Number to know: 54%. That’s the percentage of high school juniors and seniors who report lacking the proper support to help them match their interests to potential occupations. Similarly, 51% say they aren’t advised on the steps to secure their desired career.

Our take: "Because of this legislation, career and technical education programs will continue to help students succeed in the workforce of today and learn the skills for the workforce of tomorrow. This successful, bipartisan effort is a significant achievement for America’s workers – a key ingredient of the free enterprise system.” - U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley (read the full statement)

What’s next? This legislation represents the kind of bipartisan, commonsense action needed to address our nation’s education and workforce challenges, and there’s still much more work to be done. Through the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce and the U.S. Chamber’s Employment Policy Division, we’re taking these challenges head on. Learn more about important programs and policy solutions we’re advancing to help cultivate a competitive, 21st century American workforce.

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Related: Donohue: A Pledge to the American Worker

About the authors

U.S. Chamber Staff