Perkins Reauthorization Bill Heads to President’s Desk


Earlier today (Wednesday, July 25), the House of Representatives passed legislation to reauthorize the Perkins Act. Following a successful vote on the measure in the Senate on Monday, the bill will now head to the president’s desk where he has indicated, both on Twitter and through a statement, that he will sign it into law.

Upon House passage, ACTE and Advance CTE issued a joint statement. Senate passage of the bill came after a recent flurry of activity, following a long impasse in the Senate largely focused on the issue of secretarial authority. Earlier this week we reported on the Senate action and linked to a letter ACTE and Advance CTE sent to congressional leaders regarding some outstanding concerns with the bill. The House had previously been more active on Perkins reauthorization, holding numerous hearings and approving legislation in 2016 and 2017.

ACTE hopes to continue working with the House and Senate to clarify certain aspects of the legislation to ensure there are no unintended consequences for states and locals. The bill will take effect on July 1 of next year, and will commence with a transition year.

As ACTE continues to monitor this process, clarification language from the House and Senate and the soon-to-be-law’s implementation, check back on the CTE Policy Watch Blog for updates.

The Missing Piece to the Skills Gap Puzzle

SkilledUp takes an in-depth look at how today’s skills gap impacts millennials. Specifically in finding jobs in their field of study and also how this gap affects employers finding qualified candidates for open positions. Monique Sterling partnered with one of SkilledUp’s writers, Anna Cherry, to create this infographic.

Click here to learn more about Monique Sterling.

The Missing Piece to the Skills Gap Puzzle
SkilledUp takes an in-depth look at how today’s skills gap impacts millennials. Specifically in finding jobs in their field of study and also how this gap affects employers finding qualified candidates for...

The Missing Piece to the Skills Gap Puzzle
SkilledUp takes an in-depth look at how today’s skills gap impacts millennials. Specifically in finding jobs in their field of study and also how this gap affects employers finding qualified candidates for...

The Missing Piece to the Skills Gap Puzzle
SkilledUp takes an in-depth look at how today’s skills gap impacts millennials. Specifically in finding jobs in their field of study and also how this gap affects employers finding qualified candidates for...

The Missing Piece to the Skills Gap Puzzle
SkilledUp takes an in-depth look at how today’s skills gap impacts millennials. Specifically in finding jobs in their field of study and also how this gap affects employers finding qualified candidates for...

The Missing Piece to the Skills Gap Puzzle
SkilledUp takes an in-depth look at how today’s skills gap impacts millennials. Specifically in finding jobs in their field of study and also how this gap affects employers finding qualified candidates for...

Letter from Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition sent to the HELP Committee

June 28, 2018


The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
U.S. Senate
Washington DC 20510

The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking member
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
U.S. Senate
Washington DC 20510

Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking member Murray,
We write on behalf of the Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition to thank you for introducing The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, legislation to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

We appreciate your commitment to career and technical education and applaud the diligence and determination of Democrats and Republicans on the Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee who worked long and hard to come to a consensus on this important legislation.

The Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition is a business coalition focused on job training and workforce development. Members include employers and employer associations from a broad range of industries experiencing skills mismatches and worker shortages – IT, manufacturing, construction, retail and hospitality, among others.

At a time of historically tight labor markets and record low unemployment, many of the
employers we represent find their growth and productivity threatened because they lack
qualified workers. After a long hiatus, the construction industry is roaring back, and
contractors in many regions face all the work they can handle. But many report they are
unable to bid on projects because of labor shortages, and according to industry groups, the sector will face a shortage of 1.5 million craft workers by 2020. The manufacturing industry will need to fill some 3.5 million positions over the decade ending in 2025, according to Deloitte, and as many as 2 million of them may go unfilled because employers can’t find skilled workers. Among the most severe shortages are in health care. According to data analytics firm Burning Glass, there are 1.2 million more jobs available in the health care sector than there are workers available to fill them – nearly 1.5 openings for every ready worker.

The critical challenge for all of our industries: far too often, the skills being taught in the
classroom are not aligned with the skills in demand in the workplace.

There is no simple fix for this problem. It will require action on many fronts. But few steps are more important than reinvigorating and modernizing career and technical education programs at the nation’s high schools and colleges. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act can make a vital contribution to the renewal that’s needed.

The Jobs and Careers Coalition applauds the HELP Committee for its wisdom in building on H.R. 2353, the House’s version of The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act and adopting that bill’s signature focus on career education that prepares students for existing, in-demand jobs.

We appreciate the committee’s emphasis on employer engagement in career education: giving business and industry an opportunity to have input and requiring educators and state and local education officials to consult with employers at virtually every state of planning, launching, implementing and evaluating a career education program or pathway.

We are also extremely pleased by the legislation’s focus on work-based learning – grateful for the funding made available for work-based learning at the state and local levels and through the innovation and modernization grant program. There can be no effective career-education without work-based learning. It can be challenging – for educators, employers, intermediaries and others – to make opportunities available. The funding and other support provided in the legislation should go a long way to help.
We look forward to working with the committee and others in Congress as the bill moves forward to reinforce two critical principles.

First, we strongly urge that lawmakers stay focused on outcomes. Among the most telling and important are outcomes that indicate students are making progress in attaining in-demand skills and progressing toward careers – attainment of industry credentials, work-based learning and where appropriate, placement in jobs and earnings. This is the ultimate purpose of career education; these are the best measures of any program. And as employers who expect to hire young people who have been exposed to career education, we hope to see programs held to these standards.

Second, we encourage lawmakers to guard against overly prescriptive requirements for state and local education authorities. Guidance is important, standards and accountability are essential. We are pleased to see the legislation require consultation with employers. But if requirements become too burdensome, we fear that some educators may be discouraged from offering career education – to the detriment of our businesses and countless students nationwide.

We commend the committee on its work. We are grateful to see the bill moving forward.

We look forward to working with lawmakers on the committee and beyond to ensure the legislation passes the Senate and becomes the law of the land.

Yours sincerely,

American Hotel & Lodging Association
American Staffing Association
Associated Builders and Contractors
Associated General Contractors
Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals
Building Industry Policy Roundtable
Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama
Construction Industry Round Table
Independent Electrical Contractors
International Code Council
International Franchise Association
Leading Builders of America
National Association of Home Builders
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
National Restaurant Association
National Retail Federation
National Roofing Contractors Association
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
Opportunity America
Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation
West Alabama Works
Gaylor Electric, Inc.
Lupson & Associates LLC
OEM Fabricators, Inc.
Realityworks, Inc.
Shapiro & Duncan

Bridging the STEM Skills Gap Involves Both Education and Industry Commitments

INSIDE SUBARU OF Indiana Automotive, students gather around a scaled-down version of the robotic arms the industry uses to make cars. They watch as it sorts colored blocks on a miniaturized production line, occasionally glancing at the nearby laptop to make sure it is following the commands they programmed. These students are simulating the roles of modern manufacturing employees.


In the automotive industry, robots have become common, performing risky or repetitive tasks and improving the production line. By 2019, there will be approximately 2.6 million industrial robots in use worldwide, according to a 2016 report by the International Federation of Robotics.


However, while the increased use of industrial robots has enhanced the precision and efficiency of manufacturing, it has also fueled a skills gap in the field. According to a study by Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, there are an estimated 3.4 million jobs to be filled in manufacturing from 2015 to 2025 – and only approximately 1.4 million qualified workers to do so.


Schools and industries to bridge this gap and find ways to best prepare students for workforce requirements – one in which science, technology, engineering and mathematics play a major part. STEM Education Works aims to help by introducing a robotics-centered curriculum with industry-aligned technology into middle- and high-school classrooms.

Click here to read Rebecca Ellis’ complete article published on the US News website.

How former student-athletes are equipped to fill the No. 1 workforce skills gap

In a 2018 study, LinkedIn researchers found the No. 1 skills gap across the United States workforce is in communication — soft skills such as collaboration, articulation and receptiveness to feedback.  Knowing these abilities are lacking in the workforce and desired by employers in all professions should give former student-athletes the confidence felt after a big win as you go into a job search. These skills are often acquired and enhanced through the student-athlete experience.

Mark Moyer, a career coach, business strategist and former Colgate tennis player, highlights three communication traits that college athletes hone on the field and can harness in new ways in the workplace.

Click here to read Monica Miller’s complete article published on the NCAA website.

10 High-Paying Blue-Collar Jobs 2018

There is a talent shortage in America’s blue-collar sectors, and it’s projected only to grow. In manufacturing alone, 57% of the 3.5 million jobs that analysts predict will exist by 2025 are expected to go unfilled. While the aging baby boomer population, growing economy and widening skills gap have each played a part, nearly all industry executives agree that a negative perception of such work has contributed to a lack of interest from job seekers, who are more often attracted to the safety and hefty paychecks associated with white-collar roles. But there are a number of blue-collar jobs that bank big bucks.

To determine the blue-collar jobs paying the most, Forbes looked to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates from May 2017, which are calculated using data from employers throughout the United States. Based on the BLS’s definition of blue-collar and service occupations—which includes “precision production, craft and repair occupations,” as well as “machine operators and inspectors” and “handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers and laborers”—we identified the 10 highest-paying positions, excluding any managerial or supervisory roles.

Click here to read Vicky Valet’s complete article published on the Forbest website. 

Students Think They’re Ready For The Corporate World; Employers Disagree

Four years and about $25,550 in debt later, you’d think fresh graduates would be ready to join the corporate world. Students certainly think they are, but the companies hiring them disagree.

Many graduates don’t realize how ill-prepared they are for the corporate world, according to a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The biggest gap between the two group’s observations centered on work ethic and communication skills, where 89.4% and 79.4% of students rated themselves proficient respectively, but only about 40% of employers agreed in both cases. Employers weren’t totally unfair and biased in their ratings though, their ratings matched with the student’s proficiency rating on digital technology and teamwork.

The problem is students and employers have different ideas of career-readiness for a specific skillset. Fresh graduates may feel confident in their communication skills because they connect well with fellow students and professors. Texting and chatting with lots of emojis may have worked on campus, but workplace communications are different. Their essay writing skills might’ve gotten them an A+ but it’s not a guarantee they’ll be as effective when it comes to writing work emails and reports.

Click here to read Michelle Riklan’s complete article published on the Forbes website.

SkillsUSA brings thousands of people, dollars to Louisville

Some of the smartest and talented students from around the country are in Louisville for the SkillsUSA Conference. Each time these visitors come to WAVE Country, they leave a huge economic imprint on the city.

It’s the 54th year for the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference which is returning to the Kentucky Expo Center June 24 to 29.  The convention is the world’s largest showcase of skilled trades, career and technical education.

More than 18,000 students, teachers, education leaders and representatives from 600 national corporations, trade associations, business, and labor unions will be at the event this week.  Organizers say the week long conference has an economic impact of $26.2 million dollars to the area.

An additional 3,000 people are expected to attend the conference this year filling more than 40 hotels in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

SkillsUSA’s Executive Director Tim Lawrence along with two students stopped by WAVE 3 News Weekend Sunrise on Sunday to talk about the event.

“We define SkillsUSA as a partnership students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce,” Lawrence said. “Part of the magic of SkillsUSA is the connection to business and industry. In fact, there are 600 companies supporting us here from 3M to Caterpillar. The best American companies are here to support these students because they need this talent in their pipeline. The Skills gap is real, 650,000 open jobs without the people to fill them in this country right now.”

Click here to read Maira Anasari’s complete article published on the Wave3 News website.

Students get a jump start on careers this summer

Webster Parish Schools, along with the Louisiana Department of Education, has expanded its Jump Start program by participating in the Jump Start Summers initiative.

“This initiative allows Webster Parish high school students the opportunity to earn academic credit toward a Jump Start Career Diploma, engage in workplace-based learning through job shadowing and/or internship opportunities, attain critical state industry-based credentials, all while earning a wage during the upcoming summer months,” said a press release from Webster Parish Schools.

The programs will last an average of four to eight weeks and serve a total of 43 students in the areas of welding and health care.

In an earlier press release, State Superintendent John White said, “Workplace-based learning provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to master essential workplace behaviors and communication skills, while making their academic schoolwork more relevant. This is true for all students — those who are university-bound, as well as those who are career-focused.”

Click here to read the entire press release published on the Minden Press-Herald website. 

How Are Manufacturers Addressing the Skills Gap?

Manufacturing is in the middle of a new industrial revolution that requires skilled laborers. However, by most reports, many manufacturers lack enough of these well-trained employees, creating a worker shortage due to the skills gap—the difference between the skills manufacturers need and the skills job applicants have.

Companies are responding to the skills gap in numerous ways, seeking novel approaches to bridge the divide between the knowledge the workforce has and the knowledge they need.

Technology automates formerly routine processes, decreasing the need for workers who once did these jobs. Although manufacturers no longer need as large a workforce, they still need to find skilled laborers, ones who understand how to program and run a CNC or industrial robot. Although some work has been done toward addressing the skills gap, two out of every three companies don’t have a plan for remedying the problem.

Technology skills are only one facet of the skills gap—the lack of employment skills and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills also play parts in the shortage of available workers. To address the labor shortage, companies must focus on all three of these areas. This creates an opportunity for companies to devise multiple ways of correcting the problem. Because each company has specific needs depending on the technology used and the region, the means of closing the gap will differ. Here are five approaches that can help close the skills gap.

Click here to read about the five approaches written by Megan Ray Nichols and published on the QualityDigest website.

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