Today, Jobs for the Future (JFF) submitted recommendations to the Senate HELP Committee on reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act). We were very pleased to submit individual as well as joint recommendations with the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the New America Foundation—both of which encourage lawmakers to significantly expand the law’s emphasis on programs of study; and alignment of Perkins with the newly enacted Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), particularly around the development and implementation of sector-focused career pathways systems.
Career and technical education (CTE) is critical to the preparation of America’s workforce. It offers an increasingly important pathway to postsecondary education, credentials, and careers in high-demand occupations for many students. Employers rely on CTE as an important source of talent. Strategic reauthorization of the Perkins Act is of utmost importance, and the timing couldn’t be better.
In today’s highly competitive global economy, America’s economic future, the prosperity of its citizens, and the success of U.S. employers increasingly depend on the education and skills of the workforce. Yet we have far too many Americans who are without postsecondary credentials with value in the labor market.
At its best, CTE serves students through high-quality programs of study (POS) that extend from secondary through postsecondary education and provide students with the education, skills, and credentials needed for high-demand occupations and careers within states and regions. It is the “best of CTE” that should be leveraged through Perkins reauthorization—focusing on strategies that are grounded in the labor market and effective in helping a wide range of students attain the credentials that are needed for productive careers.