Legislation pending in the U.S. Senate could strengthen the country’s education and training programs for workers, including those for builders.
The reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act would promote skills-based education programs and those centered around the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. The measure increases funding for career and technical education programs, meaning that more trade schools could offer construction-focused programs to more students.
The bill, known as the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, was approved by the House of Representatives in June. It’s been supported by Republicans and Democrats, as well as employers across the country in a variety of fields. Both the NAHB and the Associated General Contractors of America have urged members of the Senate to pass the new Perkins Act.
In addition to reauthorizing key programs, the act takes steps to improve career and technical programs by promoting partnerships between employers and educators to provide greater exposure to construction careers, according to the NAHB.
Industry leaders and other bill supporters eagerly await the Senate’s decision, although no time frame had been announced for a vote on it as of press time.
“Given the dramatic evolution of our nation’s workforce, it is imperative that we create clear pathways to education and training for students interested in pursuing careers in high-demand industries and technical fields,” says Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., a co-sponsor of the legislation. “This bill will work to restore rungs on the ladder of opportunity for every American regardless of age or background."