Portman Introduces Bipartisan Career and Technical Education Reform Legislation

July 10, 2014 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced bipartisan legislation to better prepare students for 21st century jobs. The Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act of 2014, authored by Portman and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), raises the quality of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at schools in Ohio and across the country. The bill would amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to better ensure students have access to the highest quality CTE programs.

“In today’s competitive job market, far too many Americans are finding that they lack the skills they need to get a good paying job,” said Portman. “This legislation is a step in the right direction toward helping those Americans seeking work acquire the skills they need to connect with a job.”

Video of Portman speaking about the legislation on the Senate floor today can be found here.

Portman visited Great Oaks, which operates a vocational high school in Clermont County offering dual credit programs, earlier this week to discuss the legislation and hear directly from students and educators on ways to improve CTE programs.

“Perkins funding makes innovative programs and additional services possible to support our students,” said Harry Snyder, President and CEO of Great Oaks. “Senator Portman understands the value of career-technical education, and this week he got to meet students whose lives were changed through CTE as well as businesses and post-secondary institutions who benefit from the advanced training and education CTE students receive.”

The Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would raise the quality of CTE programs by:

-Defining what constitutes a rigorous CTE curriculum and requiring Perkins grant recipients to incorporate key elements in their programs, including:
• Credit-transfer agreement opportunities
• Academic and technical skills assessments to measure student achievement based on industry standards
• Use of training tools that align with the type of equipment and technology being used by today’s industries
• CTE-focused professional development for teachers, administrators,  and counselors
• Recruitment and retention plans to ensure highly effective educators and administrators are in place
• CTE curriculum alignment with local, regional, and state workforce demands

-Allowing states and localities to use Perkins grant funding to establish CTE-focused academies

-Improving links between high school and postsecondary education to help ease attainment of an industry-recognized credential, license, apprenticeship, or postsecondary certificate to obtain a job in a high-demand career field

-Promoting partnerships between local businesses, regional industries and other community stakeholders to create pathways for students to internships, service learning experiences, or apprenticeships as they transition into the workforce or postsecondary education

Numerous career and education groups support the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, including the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), the National Academy Foundation (NAF), the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC), and the National Career Development Association (NCDA).

“These senators have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the career and technical education community,” said LeAnn Wilson, Executive Director of ACTE. “We are fortunate to have them as partners on Capitol Hill.”

Kimberly Green, Executive Director of NASDCTEc also expressed support, saying, “This legislation contains a number of encouraging policy proposals and approaches to ensuring high-quality Career Technical Education is available to secondary and postsecondary students throughout the nation. NASDCTEc wishes to thank Senators Kaine and Portman for their continued support and commitment to CTE.”

Portman co-founded the Senate Career & Technical Education Caucus with Kaine earlier this year in an effort to promote and support career and technical education for both adults and youth looking to acquire skills they need to enter the workforce.