In Akron, Portman Tours Stark State and Participates in a Workforce Roundtable Discussion

March 19, 2019 | Press Releases

Discussion Focused on Strengthening CTE Programs, Portman’s JOBS Act & Helping More Ohioans Get the Skills and Training They Need to Fill Good Jobs 

AKRON, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) participated in a workforce roundtable discussion with Stark State leadership, City of Akron and Summit County leaders, along with local business partners, and other interested stakeholders to discuss strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. As co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, Portman has led efforts in the Senate to strengthen CTE programs and help Ohioans find meaningful employment.  Following the roundtable discussion, Portman toured Stark State’s Akron campus building. 

“I had a productive discussion today with the leadership from Stark State, City of Akron and Summit County officials, and other local business leaders about how we can better help more Ohioans get the skills they need for today’s in-demand jobs,” said Portman. Last week I introduced the JOBS Act, which would make students in shorter-term CTE programs eligible for federal Pell Grants, which are currently reserved only for students in traditional college programs.  Jobs are out there for students who get CTE training, and we should make them more affordable for low-income students.  I’m excited about how this legislation can help students in northeast Ohio and here at Stark State.” 

“The JOBS Act addresses the key issues we hear from employers in terms of the skills gap,” said Para M. Jones, Ph.D., President of Stark State College. “From its focus on in-demand careers to making federal PELL grants available for shorter-term education and training programs, Senator Portman’s JOBS Act will help fill skills gaps in manufacturing, IT, health and other key industry sectors that are critical to our regional and national economy. This legislation is the result of the Senator truly listening to employer needs and responding with a solution to the problem of people without jobs and jobs without people.” 

Last week, Portman and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the bipartisan JOBS Act, which would expand Pell Grant eligibility to cover high-quality and rigorous short-term job training programs so workers can afford the skills training and credentials they need for today’s job market. President Trump included the JOBS Act in his FY 2020 budget request and Rob is working to include this measure in broader legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act this year.  He has also worked on other measures to strengthen CTE programs.  Last July, the president signed Portman’s Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act to allow states and localities to use Perkins grant funding to establish CTE-focused academies.  His bipartisan CTE Excellence and Equity Act supports re-designing the high school experience to include courses more relevant to the 21st century workforce to better prepare students for future careers. Lastly, the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act he has introduced would create a teacher residency grant program to help address the CTE teacher shortage in schools. 

Photos from the event are below: