ABC Applauds Reauthorization of Perkins Act to Drive Workforce Education

Bipartisan Congressional support reauthorizes annual funding up to $1.3B for improving access to career and technical education aligned with local workforce needs

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Associated Builders and Contractors praised Congress and the administration for passing a bipartisan reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

Passage of H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, reauthorizes through 2024 the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is the principal source of U.S. federal funding for the improvement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs.

Perkins is dedicated to increasing learner access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study, and one of the key federal programs that supports vocational education programs that align with local workforce needs and lead to industry-recognized credentials. Perkins was last reauthorized in 2006 and was originally due for reauthorization in 2012.

The reauthorization gradually increases annual funding from $1.2 to $1.3 billion over six years, a nearly 11% increase over fiscal year 2018 funding levels, expanding the reach of CTE programs to ensure more students can participate. H.R. 2353 funds $7.5 billion in Department of Education grants through 2024.

“Congress has modernized and improved its flagship career education grant program to meet the evolving needs of our workforce and marketplace,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC’s vice president of environment, health, safety and workforce development. “There are 500,000 jobs ready to be filled in the construction industry alone, a number which will continue to grow if we don’t join forces to expand collaboration between industry and educators and focus on effective work-based learning.”

ABC supports the legislation’s emphasis on employer engagement in career education:

  • Giving business and industry an opportunity to have input on workforce development curricula, 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; and
  • Funding work-based learning at the state and local levels and through the innovation and modernization grant program.

The Senate passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) on July 23, and the House passed it on July 25, both by voice vote.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit at