Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, submitted testimony Tuesday to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, as they consider reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The Perkins Act supports CTE programs in all 50 states and aligns secondary and post-secondary technical education.
“High school diplomas are no longer sufficient training for the modern job market,” said Langevin, who was invited to testify based on his leadership on CTE issues. “More than 30 percent of the 46.8 million projected job openings by 2018 will require some post-secondary education. Meanwhile, eight of the top 20 fastest-growing industries in the coming decades will be in the health care sector. Many of these positions will require more than a high school education; some will necessitate a professional certification, others a two-year degree. Cuts to career and technical education would be a disservice to our young people pursuing these high-demand fields.”
While the demand for CTE has increased in recent years, funding stagnated from FY07 to FY10 and was cut in FY11 and FY12. In the past year, sequestration took an additional toll.
“I strongly urge the committee to set the reauthorization amount at no less than the FY07 appropriation level of $1.3 billion,” Langevin said in a statement. “Even reauthorizing Perkins at FY07 levels would represent a barely sustainable cut of $170 million in 2013 dollars and fail to keep pace with inflation. We can and must do better to ensure the success of our students and workers.”
Langevin has made additional efforts to strengthen career and technical education, including introduction of the Counseling for Career Choice Act that helps school districts provide comprehensive counseling to students so they are aware of all of the available pathways to a career.
“Money invested in career and technical education and career counseling is returned back to the economy many times over,” Langevin continued. “The Perkins Act has long been a bipartisan endeavor, and I hope we can come together again to best prepare our students for the future.”