Appropriations bill should include funding to promote middle-skills jobs, says Upton

As the U.S. House Appropriations Committee considers the fiscal year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers requested that committee members include report language that emphasizes the importance of utilizing Career and Technical Education (CTE) funding in post-secondary programs.

Such CTE funding is critically needed to teach the skills and knowledge required for “middle-skill jobs,” which are specific jobs or fields of work that require education or training beyond a high school diploma, but do not require a baccalaureate degree, according to an April 27 letter Rep. Upton and his colleagues sent to committee leaders.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis it has caused, millions of American workers have been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic,” Rep. Upton and the lawmakers wrote. “To come out of this pandemic stronger than before, we must focus on both improving our nation’s workforce development programs and increasing access to critical opportunities aligned with the needs of our communities.”

Among the 11 members who joined Rep. Upton in signing the letter were U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA).

In their letter, the congressmen urged the committee members to consider including language that also emphasizes the need for greater coordination between the CTE program and adult education programs.

“American workers who wish to attain the skills needed for the 21st century economy should have the opportunity to do so — to the benefit of both those individual workers and the industries that need them,” wrote Rep. Upton and his colleagues. “As we work to develop additional opportunities for training of middle-skill workers, CTE funding presents an important, existing tool that has historically been under-utilized for these purposes.”