The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce signed an open letter in conjunction with the National Association of Manufacturers last week, urging the US Senate to approve the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. This legislation, first approved under the Regan administration and reauthorized with bipartisan support twice since then, provides vocational education funding and works to ensure that such training aligns with workforce demands. Unfortunately, the program lapsed in 2016. The House approved its reauthorization last summer but the bill has languished in the Senate since then, stalled in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension Care.
“The need for career and technical education has never been higher” stated Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “As demand for high skilled labor increases, ensuring our students are able to acquire the skills that they will need to be successful in the workforce must be a priority.”
The National Association of Manufacturers’ letter, signed by over four hundred stakeholders, is addressed to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee’s ranking members. It encourages reauthorization and modernization of the Perkins CTE Act, with a focus on aligning the program with employer needs. “As competition for high-skilled labor increases and as the US economy reaches full employment,” it reads “every effort must be made to close the skills gaps that many industries across all sectors face.”
A complete copy of the letter, including a list of signatories, can be found on the Chamber’s website by following this link.