Perkins reauthorization is a can’t-miss opportunity to improve work-based learning by elevating Registered Apprenticeship
Congress is back in session, which means rumors that the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is about to be reauthorized are making the rounds. We’ve been here before, and a quick reauthorization seems no more likely this fall than it was this summer, last spring, or last year. That said, we’re making progress. This summer, the House passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. No one expects that bill to pass unchanged through the Senate, so there is still a lot of work ahead – and opportunities to make it even better.
That’s a good thing because, while the House bill makes a number of important improvements to the existing law, it also misses an opportunity to strengthen connections between our CTE and Registered Apprenticeship systems. In fact, the word apprenticeship does not appear once in the House bill, despite lots of attention to expanding work-based learning opportunities. While apprenticeship is certainly a form of work-based learning, we think there is value to giving it more explicit attention in the next version of the law.