Costa Joins a Bipartisan Majority in House Urging Senate Action to Improve Career and Technical Education

Nov 21, 2017
Press Release

FRESNO, CA – Last week 237 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, calling for the committee to take action on H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. There is strong bipartisan support for the legislation in the House, where it has 40 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle and passed unanimously on June 22nd. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions has taken no action on the bill since it was referred to the committee after its passage in the House.

“Career and technical education programs have played a critical role in helping many of our young people find long-term employment or develop a career, especially in our rural and underserved communities,” said Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), who joined 236 of his House colleagues in sending the letter. “In our San Joaquin Valley, Madera Unified School District has twenty-two career pathways which include on-the-job training and education in multiple industry sectors. We have seen these programs make a real difference in the lives of our students. Companies and organizations across numerous industry sectors also support these programs, as they train students to be job-ready upon graduation. This legislation is good for our students, our communities, and our businesses, which is why we came together in the House – Republicans and Democrats – to pass this legislation in June, and why we are joining together to urge the Senate to act on this bill.”

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act aims to both modernize career and technical education (CTE) programs and fund grants for these programs through fiscal year 2023. In addition to other provisions, the bill calls for more input at the state and local level from teachers, school administrators, and industry representatives when developing and designing CTE programs. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will likely need to consider and vote on the legislation before the entire Senate votes on the bill, which is why the 237 members of the House sent their letter to the Senate committee.

The full text of the letter is below, and the signed letter can be found here


Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray:

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. As Members of Congress committed to increasing access to high-quality career and technical education (CTE), we respectfully request that the Senate HELP Committee begin consideration of this legislation.

If signed into law, H.R. 2353 will reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act for the first time since 2006, ensuring that the federal policy governing CTE is modern, robust and well-engineered. As you know, CTE plays an important role in the success of both traditional and non-traditional students and improves the profitability of all sectors of the American economy.

Business owners depend on Perkins Act programs to bridge the skills gap and increase the number of job-ready candidates. Thanks to skills-based learning, employers can be confident that students will have the tools they need to succeed in a number of career pathways, including manufacturing, information technology (IT) and agriculture as they enter the job market.

With this in mind, we believe it is incumbent upon this body to pass legislation that will help millions of Americans access the skills and technical knowledge they need to build promising futures. We greatly appreciate your dedication to this issue and look forward to working in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to reauthorize the Perkins Act.

Thank you for your leadership and we look forward to your timely reply.