Byrne, Roby celebrate House passage of bill to overhaul career-tech education

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Americans face a job market vastly different from the one that existed a generation ago. With constant advances in technology and an ever-growing global economy, the kinds of jobs available require high-quality education and skills development vital to competing in today’s workplaces.

Since 1984, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act has endeavored to provide federal support to state and local career and technical education, or CTE, programs. But the law has not been updated in more than a decade, and no longer reflects the realities and challenges facing students and workers. Which is why the House of on Thursday approved a bill update the law and help all Americans access the education they need to earn a lifetime of success.

H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act, passed on a voice vote, reauthorizes and updates the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and includes some important reforms:

  • Empowers state and local community leaders;
  • Improves alignment with in-demand jobs;
  • Increases transparency and accountability to ensure programs deliver results;
  • Simplifies the application process
  • Provides greater flexibility to program administrators so they can adjust to changing needs;
  • Ensures a limited federal role in education.

Alabama 1st District U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, Chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, today celebrated the passage of the bill saying it will have a “huge impact at creating opportunities for Americans in Southwest Alabama and around the country.”

“Improving career and technical education programs is the most important thing Congress can do to help close the skills gap, combat poverty, and put Americans back to work,” said Byrne. “I’ve seen these programs firsthand dating back to my time as Chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system, and they truly work like magic.

“This is the type of bipartisan bill that will never get the attention it deserves, but it will have a huge impact at creating opportunities for Americans in Southwest Alabama and around the country.” 

His Alabama House colleague, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Martha Roby echoed his sentiments.

“I’m a big believer in Career Tech programs for three simple reasons: They help prepare students for rewarding careers; They ensure American workers have the tools necessary for skilled trades that are foundational to our society; And, they boost our economy by providing a quality workforce,” said Roby ahead of the vote. “With the modern workplace changing at a rapid pace, it is imperative that educators and facilities keep up. With this bill, these programs can continue to successfully connect today’s students with the careers of tomorrow.”

Byrne delivered a speech on the House floor in support of the bipartisan legislation. Watch below:

A transcript of Byrne’s remarks can be found below:

I thank the Chairwoman for yielding, and I am proud to rise in support of this strong, bipartisan legislation.

Improving career and technical education programs is the most important thing Congress can do to help close the skills gap, combat poverty, and help put Americans back to work.

Studies clearly show that there are unfilled, high wage jobs out there that remain open because people lack the skills to fill the jobs.

That’s where CTE comes in. When I was Chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system, I saw firsthand just how impressive these programs are. They really do work like magic by taking an untrained worker and giving them the skills they need to fill an in-demand job. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be an original co-sponsor and supporter of this legislation, I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this reform-oriented bill that helps build the 21st Century workforce.

Watch Roby’s floor speech below:

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