Sen. Tina Smith Says Bipartisan Measure She Helped Push Through Senate Education Committee Will Improve How Schools Prepare Students for 21st Century Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C [06/27/18]—U.S Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn) said today that a bipartisan measure she helped push through the Senate Education Committee will help schools in Minnesota and across the country better prepare students for 21st century jobs.

The bill, which passed unanimously Tuesday, would modernize the current Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act to better provide students with technical training and workforce skills.

“I’ve met with teachers, students, administrators, as well as business and industry leaders across Minnesota who understand that in our changing economy we need to improve how we prepare students for 21st Century jobs,” Sen. Smith said. “This bill will help open doors and opportunities by ensuring our training programs can adapt and respond to workforce needs. Students, workers, and businesses all stand to benefit and I will continue to push this and other improvements to how we train our future workforce.”

You can access full text of the bill here, which includes efforts championed by Sen. Smith to:

(1) Help recruit CTE teachers and assist them in getting properly licensed and credentialed. 

(2) Expand career exploration activities to middle schools.

(3) Protect rural, under-resourced, or small school districts by preserving the current method that states use in distributing funds.

(4) Increase authorization levels for Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Over 400 businesses have expressed support of the legislation, as well as Minnesota State:

“Minnesota State strongly supports the reauthorization of the Perkins Basic State Grant, authorized under Title I of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act,” Devinder Malhotra, Chancellor of Minnesota State said.“Perkins grants are the principal federal investment in our Career and Technical Education (CTE) system, and is one of the only federal programs that builds the capacity of secondary and postsecondary institutions to offer CTE programs that are academically rigorous and aligned to the needs of business and industry”.

Workforce issues have been a priority for Sen. Smith. Earlier this year she introduced the Investing in 21st Century Workforce Partnerships Act and cosponsored the Community College to Career Fund Act. In March, she kicked off a series of listening sessions across the state to talk with Minnesotans about expanding workforce development opportunities.