Thompson introduces bipartisan legislation to help Americans develop skills for in-demand jobs

Bipartisan legislation introduced on Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA) would reauthorize and reform federal workforce development efforts to ensure that more Americans are able to fill in-demand jobs.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, H.R. 5587, which was introduced by Thompson and U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), would reauthorize and reform the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

Under the bill, states would have more flexibility to use federal funding, steps would be taken to ensure that technical education prepares all students for high-wage occupations, and alignment with in-demand jobs would be fostered through community partnerships, innovative learning and stronger employer engagement.

“The importance of career and technical education has grown exponentially across the country since the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act was passed unanimously by Congress in 2006,” Thompson said. “This well-engineered and robust reauthorization aims to close our nation’s skills gap by creating clear pathways to education and training for students eager to pursue careers in vital technical fields. As co-chair of the House Career and Technical Education Caucus, I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.”

The legislation would also streamline performance measures, reduce administrative burdens, reward innovation with federal resources, and provide parents, students and stakeholders with a voice when setting performance goals for local programs.

U.S. Rep. John Kline (R-MN), the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said that it has never been more important for men and women entering the workforce to have the right knowledge and skills

“Career and technical education can provide incredible opportunities for Americans — especially younger Americans—to pursue good-paying jobs in industries critical to our economy,” Kline said. “This bipartisan legislation will help more individuals seize those opportunities and achieve a lifetime of success. I want to extend my appreciation to Representatives Thompson and Clark for their hard work on this important proposal.”

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act has provided federal resources to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs since 1984, but it has not been updated in more than a decade.

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