From Forbes contributor Nish Acharya:

“Sometimes, when we aren’t looking, things can actually get done in Washington, DC.  In late June, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act â€“ a law critical to our education and workforce development programs.   Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Republican Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) were the chief co-sponsors of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353).

Preparing the American workforce for the growth industries of tomorrow is widely considered to be one of the most important challenges facing our society today.  Technology is advancing at an incredible pace – with rapid advancements in information technology, the Internet, life sciences, Big Data and countless other fields.  On the other hand, it takes universities and training programs years to understand industry trends, develop education programs and attract students.  And companies don’t do enough to assist the curriculum developers in a timely manner.  In a famous example, Sun Microsystems once gave multiple grants to education organizations in the early 2000’s to develop high-school level curriculum to teach Java programming.  By the time its partners had completed the curriculum and rolled it out to pilot sites, Sun had announced that it was offshoring thousands of Java programming jobs abroad.

One of the most important tenets of the current legislation is that it provides flexibility to states to design their career and technical training programs to be regionally-relevant.  Western agrarian states don’t have to use their funds in the same way as a New England life-sciences driven economy.  In addition, the legislation connects training programs more closely to new sectors of the economy that are currently in demand by American companies and employers.  And the legislation allows for greater flexibility in measurement, the use of innovative practices and flexibility for students.”

To read more about the steps our politicians are making in placing importance on CTE, click here.