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Bonamici Supports House Updates to Career and Technical Education Programs

September 13, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC [09/13/16] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) spoke in favor of and voted for an update to federal Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, provides federal funding to programs that prepare students for high-demand careers and success in higher education.

Bonamici—a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce—has visited CTE programs across northwest Oregon, and during Committee meetings has highlighted successful partnerships between local schools, higher education institutions, and employers in Oregon. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was last updated in 2006. The bill passed today strengthens high-quality CTE programs in states and school districts. The legislation includes an increase in funding for CTE, supports innovative CTE programs, promotes access to CTE programs among historically underserved students, and fosters collaboration between schools and key stakeholders—including parents and business leaders. You can read a summary of the legislation here.

You can watch video of Bonamici speaking on the House Floor here.

“When I visit communities in Oregon, I hear from business leaders, educators, and students about hands-on Career and Technical Education programs that engage students and prepare them for success after high school—regardless of what path they take in life,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said today on the House floor. “This CTE legislation authorizes needed increases in funding for CTE programs and takes important steps to help more students excel in school and in the workforce. The bill will improve participation among historically underserved students, bring needed input from key stakeholders—including parents and industry groups—and help students learn employability skills as well as technical skills.”

Bonamici and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY)—co-chairs of the Congressional STEAM Caucus—successfully included a provision to encourage states and local school districts to support CTE programs that integrate arts and design education. As co-founder of the Congressional STEAM Caucus, Bonamici is an advocate for STEAM education, which engages students and fosters creativity by incorporating the arts and design into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

“We know that America’s future economic success will rely on a workforce that includes the world’s best engineers, programmers, and scientists,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “But America’s economic success has also been built upon our propensity for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Education programs that integrate arts and design  nurture future workers to think in new ways and to come up with one-of-a-kind solutions to our pressing problems. As we  prepare students for success in the 21st Century, we should give states and school districts tools to help students acquire the many skills that are valuable in an innovation economy. And high-skilled workers who are creative are highly valued in numerous career fields, including advanced manufacturing.”

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was passed overwhelmingly by the House and now heads to the Senate.