House Passes Bill to Strengthen Career and Technical Education

The House passed H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, a bill championed by Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, and Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA). Langevin is an original cosponsor of the bill, which reauthorizes and modernizes the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act.

“I have always taken pride in my ability to work in a bipartisan manner, and this legislation is a prime example of what we can accomplish when we come together to support meaningful, important policy. Career and technical education is a critical piece of workforce development, and I am fortunate to have a fierce partner in Congressman Thompson,” said Langevin. “This legislation makes many necessary updates to the Perkins Act, with an emphasis on training students for the skills they’ll need in high-growth sectors in this 21st century economy.”

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is the first reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act since the bill expired in 2012. It better connects classrooms with workforce trends and encourages strong partnerships between educators, employers, and community partners, ensuring opportunities for underserved students, in particular. The legislation also promotes the implementation of innovative CTE programs, improving outcomes through an increased focus on employability skills, work-based learning opportunities, and meaningful credentialing that would make students more competitive. Additionally, the bill includes components of Langevin’s Counseling for Career Choice Act and provides stronger supports so that professional school counselors can appropriately advise young people on all of the options available to them.

“I am thrilled to see this legislation move forward because providing workers with the skills necessary to thrive in the modern economy is essential to our economic prosperity,” Langevin continued. “This bill will help students to bridge the gap between classroom theory and workplace practice, and align skills and training with employer needs. It’s a win-win for students and employers, and it’s a major victory in our efforts to close the skills gap and create a more resilient, sustainable workforce.”

Prior to House passage, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act passed unanimously out of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Langevin thanked Clark for her stewardship of the bill in committee, and thanked Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) for their commitment to shepherding the bill to the House Floor.

“Today’s vote is the result of an inclusive and thoughtful process, and I am proud to have been part of this effort,” Langevin said. “I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for helping to bring this bill to the Floor, and I urge the Senate to take it up without delay.”