Congress and President Trump came together this summer to address a critical component of workforce development and in the process helped the Partnership check off one of our Advocacy Agenda priorities. In late July, the President signed into law a significant update the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.
The Perkins Act has provided federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs since 1984. CTE programs are designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to compete for employment. The Perkins Act aims to improve access to and quality of CTE programs across the country to help job seekers attain long-term employment while benefitting their regional economy.
Addressing the workforce development challenges in Buffalo Niagara is crucial to the region’s success. In Buffalo Niagara, 20% of the local workforce is expected to retire over the next 10 years. In just three industries – advanced business services, advanced manufacturing and tourism & hospitality – an estimated 6,250 jobs will open up. To satisfy the demand in the job market, we need to build qualified regional workforce with 21st century skills. CTE programs are key to achieving this.
Some of the most significant updates to the Perkins Act:
- Mandates alignment between CTE programs and the needs of local labor markets to address pipeline gap for in-demand jobs
- Clarifies application process for federal funding
- Gives community leaders flexibility when allocating federal funds
- Supports accountability and transparency through streamlining performance measures for CTE programs
- Cuts back on federal involvement by limiting the Secretary of Education’s authority
In addition to being one of our Advocacy Agenda priorities, we worked closely with our partners in the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) to advocate in favor of updating the Perkins Act. A collaborative initiative of chambers of commerce from around the Great Lakes region, the GLMCC supports and promotes investment and policies to help drive the region’s long-term economic transformation and competitiveness. An aging workforce, looming retirement cliff and the lack of trained job seekers is a critical issue for the entire Great Lakes region as we look to rebuild our economies and position ourselves to better compete in the global economy.
To learn more about the Partnership’s advocacy priorities, read our 2018 Advocacy Agenda here.