WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. The legislation was last reauthorized in 2006 and is the principle source of federal funding to states for the improvement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs.

“This bill is about opportunities for the next generation of tradesmen. By providing the necessary resources for schools and local programs, more students and professionals in the trades will have increased avenues for better education and training to help obtain good-paying jobs,” stated LaHood. “Earlier this week, I was able to hear from stakeholders around the district about how funding for career and technical education is critical to training the next generation of tradesmen. The programs established in central and west-central Illinois continue to prove that this funding is necessary to creating more jobs and opportunities for those exploring the trades or looking for a new direction within their careers. I was pleased to see this bill pass with unianimous support.”

“The passage of HR2353 to reauthorize the Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 is vital for John Wood Community College and all community colleges because we are the key partner in workforce education and training,” JWCC President Michael Elbe said. “Career, technical and health education programs, especially those in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, logistics and healthcare, have head-of-household career paths plus there is high demand for those jobs from employers in our region.  It is our responsibility to help students access the new skills and knowledge base that lead to those successful careers. Perkins funding helps students of all ages access valuable and affordable education to improve their quality of life and simultaneously support the region’s economy. I applaud the work and bipartisan support for legislation that will directly impact the many communities served by John Wood Community College in West Central Illinois and this tristate region.”

“As we work toward our district’s vision of educating and graduating each student prepared and inspired to contribute to the world, we believe that students need internships, apprenticeships and other career training experiences in our community in addition to their regular classroom instruction,” said Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat. “The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is an important funding source that gives our students real-life experience and assists us in graduating career and college-ready employees ready to enter our local economy. I appreciate the support of Representative LaHood in making sure this important investment continues for our students and our community.”

“Illinois Central College commends Rep. LaHood and the bipartisan support in the legislature to reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act,” said ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “The reauthorization provides vital funding to support career and technical education programs which expands the labor force pipeline with well-prepared, job-ready workers. Expanding the career and technical skills of our region is the single most impactful strategy to ensure completers who earn family sustaining wages and drive regional growth and prosperity.”

Earlier this week, Representative LaHood met with various leaders of the community to discuss the impact and continuing needs of career and technical education (CTE) funding. Participants around the table included Illinois Central College President, Sheila Quirk-Bailey, Superintendent of Peoria Public Schools, Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Chris Kendall of PERFECT Peoria, Dana Oaks of the Greater Peoria Contractors, Clint Drury and Jimmy Dillon, both representing the West-Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council.