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AED Scores Major Victory as Congress Finishes Work on Perkins Reauthorization

by Sara Smith | Jul 25, 2018
Earlier today, the House approved the bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), sending the legislation to President Trump for his signature. Today’s action comes on the heels of Senate passage on July 23. AED made enactment of H.R. 2353 a key part of its legislative agenda this Congress.

The legislation reforms, modernizes and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The Perkins Act, which hasn’t been updated in more than a decade, is the principal source of federal funding for the improvement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs across the nation.

“Today, Congress took a long overdue step toward addressing the nation’s skills gap by approving the Strengthening Career & Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” said AED’s President & CEO Brian P. McGuire. “By reflecting current workforce needs, empowering state and local entities, and emphasizing work-based learning opportunities, the bipartisan legislation provides tools to better prepare workers for well-paying careers and ensure that U.S. companies can seize new business opportunities, making the United States more competitive in the global economy.”

“The greatest strategic challenge facing the construction equipment industry is the scarcity of skilled technical workers that is costing AED members more than $2.4 billion per year in lost revenue and economic activity. H.R. 2353 is an important part of the solution, which along with a commitment by businesses, schools and government officials to collectively tackling the technical education crisis at all levels, will help our nation’s students acquire the skills needed to meet employer demands. Thank you to the bill’s sponsors for their leadership on this issue. The construction equipment industry urges the president to sign this important legislation into law as soon as possible.”

The legislation will help:

• Align CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state and local labor markets.

• Support effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers.

• Increase student participation in work-based learning opportunities.

• Promote the use of industry recognized credentials and other recognized post-secondary credentials.

These improvements will more effectively spend federal dollars to help our nation’s students acquire the skills that they need and employers – including AED members – are demanding.

To view AED’s most recent letter of support for H.R. 2353 visit: http://aednet.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/AED-HR2353HouseVoteSupportLetter.pdf

The AED Foundation recently commissioned two studies by the College of William & Mary quantifying the skilled worker shortage’s impact on the construction equipment industry and analyzing career and technical education (CTE) programs on a state-by-state basis. Visit aedfoundation.org/research/ to learn more about The AED Foundation’s research.

For more information please contact Daniel B. Fisher, AED's Vice President of Government Affairs at dfisher@aednet.org.

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