King Calls for Reauthorization of Perkins Act for Career and Technical Education

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King Calls for Reauthorization of Perkins Act for Career and Technical Education

Education Department Launches $200,000 Career and Technical Education Competition for High Schools
March 9, 2016

Acting U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. today called on Congress to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides more than $1.1 billion for the nation’s career and technical education programs in grades 7-12 and also in post-secondary institutions.

King also announced the launch of an Education Department-sponsored Career Technical Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge – a competition offering a total of $200,000 divided equally among many as 10 award recipients to transform classrooms or available space in high schools into places where students have access to the tools to design, build and innovate.

“We’ve come a long way from what we used to refer to as vocational education. Today, every job that leads to a secure future requires critical thinking, problem solving and creativity, as well as some postsecondary education or training. The best career and technical education programs help students prepare for this future once they graduate from high school. Career and technical education is not just about preparing some students for successful lives and careers, it’s about giving all students the tools to shape our future,” said King.

The Obama Administration’s priorities for Perkins reauthorization include:

  • Effective alignment with today’s labor market, including clear expectations for high-quality programs;
  • Stronger collaboration among secondary and postsecondary institutions, employers and industry partners;
  • Meaningful accountability to improve academic and employment outcomes for students; and finally,
  • Local and state innovation in CTE, particularly the development and replication of innovative CTE models.

King delivered his remarks in Baltimore at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center, a showcase community facility with tools for students or adults to be creative, search for inspiration and connect with one another.  In many ways, the center emulates the future of career and technical education.

Additionally, King announced that the White House, along with federal agencies and the broader community, will celebrate a National Week of Making, June 17-23.

The week will coincide with the National Maker Faire, June 18-19 in Washington, D.C., featuring makers from across the country and will include participation by federal agencies such as: the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA, Corporation for National and Community Service, Department of Homeland Security and the Smithsonian Institution.

"The President launched the Nation of Makers initiative to give more students, entrepreneurs, and Americans of all ages access to the tools needed to design and make just about anything," said Tom Kalil, deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "It is great to see leadership from the Department of Education with new the CTE Makeover Challenge. We need to rethink high school for the 21st century, and give our students experiences that will build their creative confidence and problem-solving skills, and also prepare them for potential STEM careers."

The CTE Makeover Challenge builds on the Administration’s Nation of Makers initiative, launched in 2014 by the White House as an all-hands-on-deck call to give many more students, entrepreneurs, and citizens access to a new class of technologies allowing them to build just about anything. Specifically, the Challenge calls upon eligible high schools to design models of “makerspaces” – formalized spaces for making things.  These unique facilities may be classrooms, libraries and mobile spaces, all of which will provide resources for students to create and learn through making.  The locations are ideal spaces for students to gain essential 21st-century career skills, such as critical thinking, planning, and communication.

Further underscoring the importance of the Perkins reauthorization, and reflecting the job-driven training efforts announced by President Obama in his 2014 State of the Union address, the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), which Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and a bipartisan group of state legislators are working to bring to Baltimore and the state, is one exemplary model. Such a program provides students with a personalized pathway towards mastery of skills and knowledge that they will need to make the transition from education to high-tech industry.

Later this year, the White House will welcome the inaugural class of 20 CTE Presidential Scholars who will be selected based on outstanding scholarship and demonstrated ability in career and technical education.  The recognition of student excellence in career and technical education is part of the national shift to ensure that today’s students are prepared for the workforce of the future.


Please see the media advisory for more information about the event which will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center.