Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I rise today as cochair of the bipartisan House Career and Technical Education Caucus in order to recognize February as National Career and Technical Education Month. Career and technical education programs continue to evolve in order to ensure that workers are prepared to hold jobs in high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand career fields like engineering, information technology, health care, and advanced manufacturing for the 21st century.
During this time of record-high unemployment, career and technical education programs provide a lifeline for the underemployed who look to begin new careers alongside young adults just starting out of high school in the rapidly evolving job market.
Career and technical education, while historically undervalued, helps tackle critical workforce shortages and provides an opportunity for America to remain globally competitive while also engaging students in practical, real-world applications of academics coupled with hands-on work experience.
Now, as we move toward fiscal year 2014, I join with a bipartisan group of my colleagues in not only recognizing the importance of maintaining these Federal investments for our country's future but also in saying thank you to the countless men and women who make these programs possible--the faculty, the teachers and the instructors within our career and technical education schools throughout this great Nation.
Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate Career and Technical Education Month, I encourage my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to join me and my good friend, Representative Langevin from Rhode Island, the cochair of the House Career and Technical Education Caucus, as we continue our work together of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education Caucus.
The goals of this caucus are to provide promising futures for individuals who are seeking opportunities for work within this great Nation, and for employers, many of whom are in situations, despite record high unemployment for the longest sustained time since the Great Depression, of having great-paying jobs that are sitting open and available where they can't find a qualified, trained workforce and, quite frankly, for America, whose competitiveness into the future will depend on how well we make these investments.