Alabama 1st District U.S. Congressman Bradley Byrne, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, on Tuesday voted in favor of legislation to boost and reform America’s career and technical education (CTE) programs.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5587 — the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act — which limits the federal government’s role and empowers states and local community leaders by giving them greater flexibility over how they use federal funds for career and technical education.
As an original co-sponsor, Byrne helped write and introduce the legislation, which passed by a vote of 405 to 5 with the support of the entire Alabama delegation, excluding Rep. Terri Sewell, who did not vote.
During debate on the bill, Byrne spoke on the House floor about the importance of career and technical education, and he also highlighted important CTE programs in Southwest Alabama.
“You see, for too long, we have devalued the importance of career and technical education here in America,” said Byrne on the House floor. “The programs were seen as some sort of second-rate option for students who couldn’t make it otherwise.”
“That simply isn’t the case,” Byrne continued, “Instead, CTE programs offer real opportunities to students of all ages and from all backgrounds. And, with this bill, we are making it clear that career and technical education is a critical educational option that leads to good-paying jobs.”
Among the many reforms included in the bill, H.R. 5587 would:
- Empower state and local community leaders;
- Improve alignment with in-demand jobs;
- Increase transparency and accountability; and
- Ensure a limited federal role.
The legislation is supported by a range of organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Alabama Association of School Boards, the School Superintendents Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Farm Bureau Federation.