Congress took a positive step towards resolving the skilled trade labor shortage this week. The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR55897, known as the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, by an overwhelming vote of 405 to 5.
The bill reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 through 2022, divides career and technical education (CTE) students into CTE concentrators and CTE participants, and revises requirements for within-state funding allocations.
Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, said in a statement, “The fact an overwhelming and bipartisan majority of the House approved this new career and technical education legislation is a clear sign that members of Congress understand the need to provide more students with the skills they need to enter high-paying careers like construction. Significantly, this new legislation includes reforms we have long advocated to allow school officials to offer programs that local employers need. In addition, the measure opens the way for greater acceptance of industry-recognized credentials within school programs, something we also have long championed.
“Moving forward, the Associated General Contractors of America will be working aggressively to encourage the Senate to quickly pass this measure and send it to the president for his signature. The last thing our economy can afford is to continue preparing students for jobs that don’t exist while employers search in vain for workers with skills that aren’t taught."
The bill has been received by the Senate.