Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), Co-Chairman of the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, this week introduced the Counseling for Career Choice Act to ensure that high school students are made fully aware of their career and education options prior to graduation. The legislation would support the development of comprehensive career counseling programs in school districts across the country. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), a member of the CTE Caucus, is the primary co-sponsor of the legislation.
"Today's students need to be aware of the full spectrum of career opportunities," said Langevin. "While a four-year university might be the best fit for some high school students, others might find a two-year degree or a professional certification to be the most promising path to well-paying, rewarding careers. Educators and policymakers should be considering all the various pathways to professions."
"In Rhode Island," Langevin continued, "employers are often unable to find workers with the necessary skills to fill open slots. This "skills gap' can be closed, but it will take concentrated effort to make sure that students are given the necessary training and that workers have the right skills for employers who are hiring."
"Too often students don't get the advice they need to make college or career decisions based on their unique talents and interests," said Bonamici. "This legislation will encourage schools to build comprehensive college and career counseling programs that can provide students with the information they need to understand and plan for different options."
Under the legislation, grants would be used by states or Local Education Agencies to assess current counseling programs, and create new counseling frameworks. The bill also provides professional development to counselors to ensure they are able to offer students a compressive understanding of current workforce trends and postsecondary opportunities, including non-degree certificate programs, internships, apprenticeships, and two-year and four-year degree programs.
The Counseling for Career Choice Act has the support of both the Alliance for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the American School Counselor's Association (ASCA).
"ACTE understands that comprehensive guidance and counseling programs are an integral part of the overall education system, helping all students to become college and career ready," said Stephen DeWitt, Deputy Executive Director of ACTE. "We proudly support the efforts of Congressman Langevin and Congresswoman Bonamici to ensure school counselors, teachers and other educational personnel have access to up-to-date information on the labor market and educational opportunities that will help our students make informed choices."
"This legislation demonstrates Representative Langevin and Representative Bonamici's commitment to expand comprehensive school counseling services in the states and would provide students with post-secondary planning that would meet their needs more effectively," said Richard Wong, Ed.D., ASCA executive director.