A few weeks ago, I met a young woman named Sarah. She was smiling, and it was the smile of a student who just solidified her future, her success. She just completed a career and technical education program in manufacturing technology. She is already far on her way to achieving her dream of becoming a manufacturing engineer, even before receiving her high school diploma. Not all careers start with a bachelor’s degree—some begin before students have even started high school.
Credential and two-year associate degree programs can help students build meaningful and lucrative careers. That is why I supported the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career Education Act which provides funds to support local and state career and technical education (CTE) programs. This bill makes structural changes to allow for less federal control of these programs, putting power back in the hands of state administrators, who know what is best for their states. Additionally, it allows states to prioritize more funding for rural areas, which have a high concentration of CTE students.
This bill also authorizes innovation grants to improve CTE programs and help better align them with the current labor market. Strengthening America’s education system is important to promoting our economic security and ensuring our democracy. Like you, I am committed to ensuring our children and young adults have access to quality education and the opportunity to succeed in the 21st Century.