Bill would use workforce data to shape vocational programs

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and a bipartisan group of legislators recently drafted a measure that would strengthen vocational education programs by using workforce data to align curriculum with local labor market needs.

Kinzinger and Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) are the original co-sponsors of the Perkins Modernization Act.

“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,” Kinzinger said. “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 co-sponsors 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.”

Davis said workforce-training programs must continue to change to meet the needs of the economy.

“Despite an unemployment rate of nearly nine percent in Illinois, we continue to see jobs go unfilled because our workforce has not caught up with the technical skills required to compete in a 21st-century economy,” Davis said. “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.”

Polis said the Perkins Modernization Act would allow vocational and career/technical educational programs to improve student engagement, increase graduation rates and ensure the nation’s workforce has the necessary skills to succeed.