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This week marks an exciting time for the future of the tech workforce as the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, a reauthorization and modernization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Last June, the House unanimously passed its bill to modernize the program, but the Senate has been slower to act. CTE programs have seen cuts of around $100 million over the last ten years, according to The Hill, exacerbating the skills gap weighing on our economy. In prioritizing funding for CTE programs, a reauthorized Perkins CTE Act will ensure our workforce is better equipped with the skillsets today’s economy demands.
The significance of this update cannot be overstated. The last time the Perkins Act was reauthorized was more than a decade ago – a year before the iPhone was introduced. Updating the Perkins Act is a critical step in addressing the skills gap. If signed into law, the modernized Perkins Act will expand CTE opportunities to non-traditional students, provide students with practical, hands-on learning, and ensure what is being taught in the classroom is aligned with local and regional workforce demands.
At CompTIA, we understand how critical our workforce is to both the tech industry, and the economy as a whole. We have long championed contemporary education and training programs that will help shrink the skills gap and jump start innovation and growth. We are thrilled with the promising strides made by Congress over the last year, but the work isn’t yet complete. The bill the Senate HELP Committee passed this week now heads to the Senate floor. We urge the Senate to consider and pass this important legislation quickly with broad, bipartisan support. We at CompTIA are excited by the bright future for the workforce, as we plan to further engage with students and workers to strengthen our workforce and grow our economy.
Geoff Lane is CompTIA Advocacy’s director of government affairs; Claudia Hurowitz is the policy intern for CompTIA Advocacy