As We Speak: A Big Step for Current and Future Workers

As we speak, the House has begun debating bipartisan legislation to overhaul our nation’s career and technical education system. It will help more Americans get into good-paying jobs and careers by acquiring the right skills to compete in the workforce.

Right now, the economy is doing well, to the point that we have more job openings in America than we do job-seekers. The challenge is finding workers with the right skills to fill these in-demand jobs. This bill, a critical piece of our Better Way agenda, will help close that skills gap.

The Education and the Workforce Committee has all the background you need on the bill. Here’s a little timeline from us:

June 7, 2016: As part of the Better Way plan to fight poverty and promote upward mobility, Republicans call for improving career and technical education. “Federal policy must seize the opportunity to help Americans—young and old—develop the skills that lead to high-paying jobs,” the report says.

June 22, 2017: The House passes the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. At a press conference earlier in the week, Speaker Ryan calls for expanding CTE: “We have to close this skills gap. This is huge in the Midwest. It’s something I hear about every single time I tour a business.”

September 18, 2017: Speaker Ryan visits a career and technical education program in New Berlin, WI, where they help students explore specific areas of interest. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, “’Preparing students like New Berlin does, as well as helping students develop in other ways like become ‘lifelong learners,’ is exactly what others should also be doing,’ Ryan said.  ‘What you’re doing here is exactly what we’re hoping to see all over the place.’”

March 2018: Congress passes a critical funding bill to boost funding for workforce development in high-growth job fields, including a $75 million increase for career and technical education programs.

July 12, 2018: Speaker Ryan continues his push for strengthening career and technical education in a speech to The Economic Club of Washington, DC: “We need to recognize that the competitiveness of our economy is inextricably linked to the competitiveness of our workforce. … We have boosted resources for workforce development programs in high-growth fields. And the House has passed a great bipartisan bill to expand career and technical education.”

July 25, 2018: The House takes up the final version of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. One of the bill’s authors, Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) toutmaking better career and technical education options a reality for millions of Americans.

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