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House passes 2017 Perkins reauthorization act
Kirill Abbakumov   on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 8:00:00 am

On June 23, 2017, the House passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act of 2017, which would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The bill was passed out of committee on May 17, by a unanimous vote.

The bill is similar to the reauthorization bill passed by the House in September 2017 and includes requirements for closer alignment of postsecondary performance indicators with the core performance indicators under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). It also contains requirements that state Perkins plans describe how CTE programs fit within the state’s broader vision and strategy for preparing an educated and skilled workforce. The bill would additionally adopt several key WIOA definitions, including recognized postsecondary credentials, industry or sector partnerships, and career pathways.

Despite strong support for the House bill, the prospects for Senate action are uncertain. The Senate did not take up the House bill last year and was unable to reach agreement on their own proposal, in large part because of partisan disagreements about the Secretary of Education’s oversight role in CTE programs.

In addition, President Trump’s FY2018 budget request includes a proposed reduction of $168 million for Perkins state grant, or a cut of 15% against current funding levels. This makes the reauthorization effort come against a backdrop of larger political discussion around the future of federal investments in education and workforce initiatives.