CTE Caucus Spearheads Letter Requesting Level Funding for Perkins Act Programs

Apr 22, 2013
Press Release

Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, sent a letter today to the House Appropriations Committee requesting level funding for the Carl D. Perkins Act programs (Perkins) in the FY 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill. A bipartisan group of sixty one other legislators also signed the letter.

Perkins provides the principal source of federal support for program improvement and helps to strengthen the integration of academic, career and technical education (CTE) at secondary and postsecondary institutions. Debt reduction is of the utmost importance; however, continued reductions to Perkins would affect millions of career and technical education students, the business community that relies on a qualified workforce, and the future competitiveness of this country.

CTE programs continue to evolve and are proven to ensure that individuals are qualified to operate in high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand career fields such as engineering, information technology, and health care. Even more valuable in our rapidly changing job market, the Perkins programs provide students with transferable skills that prepare them to be “college and career-ready” and retrain adult workers with skills that make them viable in the modern workforce.

Letter Text

Dear Chairman Kingston and Ranking Member DeLauro:

We are writing to respectfully request that you level fund the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. While we understand that the committee is faced with difficult choices to ensure fiscal responsibility, we ask you avoid further reductions to Perkins, which would have adverse affects on millions of career and technical education students across the United States and the business community who rely on these programs for a skilled workforce.

As CTE programs continue to evolve in order to ensure that workers are well prepared to hold jobs in high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand career fields like engineering, information technology and healthcare, it is now more important than ever to ensure there are not further reductions. Funding for Perkins provides high school students transferable skills that allow them to be “college- and career-ready,” and addresses the skills gap by providing the retraining adults need to access the jobs that are available in today’s market. CTE also strives to engage students to help them better understand and apply academics, and keeps the United States economically competitive.

Funding for the Perkins Act had remained stagnant for nearly a decade and most recently suffered from reductions in the past two fiscal years, despite the demand for CTE increasing. Reducing funding will limit job opportunities for young workers and adults who are trying to reenter the workforce, during this time of economic recovery. Perkins’ significance has been recognized by the authorizing Committee on Education & Workforce by expressly prohibiting states from consolidating Perkins funding through the House-passed SKILLS Act, H.R 803, Section 140 (4)(A).

This recognition sends a clear message of the need for further emphasis on Perkins related activities. CTE works to ensure that students have the academic, technical and employability skills necessary for true career readiness — and Perkins funding is key to their continued success. Therefore, we urge you to maintain funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act in FY2014.