On Jan. 8, ATEC joined more than 350 other organizations in a letter urging Congress to reauthorize the Carl. D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Perkins supports career and technical education (CTE) programs through grants to states. It is long-overdue for overhaul and has come under fire in recent years for being out of touch with the needs of the modern workforce.
The broad show of support for action on Perkins represents the growing recognition that technical, hands-on training provides students with more opportunity and employers with essential human capital. The law has long been the federal government’s central tool in supporting efforts by schools and businesses to grow essential skills; the association and its allies asked lawmakers to enhance areas that can boost the modern economy.
The group contends the government can most effectively utilize federal spending on technical programs when curricula consider workforce demand. To ensure such consideration exists, the letter asked that reauthorization legislation align CTE programs with the needs of labor markets and support collaboration between educators and employers.
“CTE is an effective tool for improving student outcomes and helps prepare both secondary and postsecondary students with the necessary academic, technical and employability skills required for successful entry into the workforce,” the letter said. “Indeed, CTE prepares students both for college and careers.”
The association will continue to support this broad coalition of businesses and industry groups to build the right educational infrastructure. After graduating from programs rooted in strong CTE skills, students will have options. By taking advantage of federal policy and working locally to meet labor demand, so will the aviation community.
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