Having led the effort to rally bipartisan support for Perkins Act funding on Capitol Hill, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) commended the Obama Administration's release today of a proposal to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act. The announcement provides a blueprint for ensuring a strong commitment to CTE training by: aligning CTE programs with labor market needs; strengthening collaboration between educators and employers; ensuring accountability; and allowing states the autonomy necessary to implement innovative practices that fit their regions.
Langevin has made bolstering CTE a priority as part of his Rhode Island Skilled Economy (RISE) tour launched last month, which kicked off with a forum on Perkins Act funding at Coventry High School. He also hosted a summit last year to gather the state's education, business and labor communities to build stronger collaboration in workforce development. Langevin praised the Administration's recognition of the importance of that objective, and the role of Perkins funding in growing the economy.
"I commend Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier for providing a starting point for the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act," said Langevin. "I wholeheartedly agree that CTE plays a central role in ensuring our students are both college- and career-ready. We cannot create the quality jobs our country needs unless we direct resources to support training programs that meet the needs of high-growth, high-demand and high-wage fields like biotechnology and information technology.
"As a co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, I have advocated for increased Perkins funding in order to have programs that are relevant to students and introduce them to real-world experience. If we engage our students, we reduce dropout rates and put them on a path to success. As we look ahead to the reauthorization of Perkins, I look forward to working with the Administration, my fellow colleagues, schools, administrators, teachers, advocates, parents and students so that we have the best career and technical education system in the world."
Langevin has submitted a request, co-signed by 67 other representatives from across the political spectrum, to Democratic and Republican leaders on the House Appropriations Committee, to restore Perkins Act funding to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 level. The program was reduced by $140 million in FY2011 and further in FY2012. In requesting $1.27 billion for the program, he stressed that in a time of fiscal constraints, workforce development must be recognized as a top priority for the country to reach its full economic potential.