Progress is being made. On May 17, 2017, the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted unanimously to move The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act forward. This new act “would provide federal funds to increase access to career and technical education (CTE) and, in particular, to extend such access to more students from disadvantaged communities.”[i] As businesses needs have evolved, so too must the skills of our employees. Skilled workers are needed in many industries throughout the country; manufacturing, construction, carpentry, healthcare, computer programming, engineering, auto mechanics, transportation, HVAC, plumbing, electric and welding. The bill is designed for U.S. workers compete in a global economy.
Below are 4 updates on expectations and path-forward:
- Employers need to be involved in the training and education processes for current or prospective workers. “Organizations must ensure that state and local governments know what their skill needs are so that officials can create programs under this legislation.”[ii] Do not be afraid to provide feedback on both the positives and negatives of a program.
- State and local governments would be responsible for crafting and designing programs that best fit the needs of employers in the local communities. Upon approval and implementation, state and federal governments would also have to submit results of the effectiveness of the CTE trainings to federal agencies.
- In 2016, a similar bill went to the Senate, but ran out of time when it was delayed by debates over the education secretary’s role in deciding how states can potentially spend money under the 2016 proposed law. The role of the Senate debates or education secretary is yet to be determined on progressing the new bill forward and spending.
- The legislation is focused on post-secondary training for trade jobs in the U.S., that do not require a four-year degree. The impact of this bill, if passed will be significant as there is a need throughout the country to have trained and skilled workers in many industries.
The value of The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, could have great potential for additional training’s in our area. Remember, this is federal legislation and does not include any training funding from New York State. The key to any legislation such as this is the effectiveness of the training. As employer’s we need to offer feedback and input into these programs, while holding state and local government entities accountable. Developing training takes a tremendous amount of resources, resources that we are paying for. You get out what you put in. The employees and/or potential employees do have responsibility in ensuring that the training is effective and successful as well. We will continue to monitor the act as it progress through the different branches of government for any amendments or updates.
– Matthew Burr, HR Consultant