Senate introduces amendment recognizing the Adult Learner in Career and Technical Education

On September 15, 2016, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced, and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) co-sponsored, S. 3349 The Career and Technical Education for Adult Learners Act (CTE for ALL Act), to amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins Act) and provide adults pathways for adults to career and technical education. CLASP supports this effort to help nontraditional adult students build skills and succeed in today’s economy.    

An international survey confirms that millions of America’s working adults have low literacy, numeracy, and/or digital problem solving skills. This is issue won’t age away; fully half of those workers with limited skills are under 45. Most of these workers are in health care, construction, manufacturing, and hospitality—all critical fields—yet they’re not participating in learning opportunities.   

America’s workforce needs postsecondary education aligned with foundational adult education and workforce preparation. By 2020, nearly two-thirds of all jobs will require a postsecondary credential. This bill will align Perkins Career and Technical Education programs and strategies with those in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, focusing on the postsecondary credentials adults need to succeed in the workplace.

The CTE for ALL Act will:

  • Ensure that programs funded under the Perkins Act are aligned with adult education programs and industry sector partnerships authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  • Promote the evidence based educational strategy Integrated Education and Training.
  • Include adult education in state plans for career and technical education.
  • Allow states to develop core performance indicators for adult learners that align with performance indicators in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  • Encourage a greater emphasis on work experiences as part of career and technical education programs.
  • Clarify that adult education providers that also offer career and technical education programs are eligible to receive funds under the Perkins Act.

The House of Representatives passed a version of a comprehensive Perkins Act bill last week.  Next week, the Senate is expected to begin their work to reauthorize the Perkins Act, making this proposal timely. CLASP will be urging the Senate to include strong provisions aligning Perkins to WIOA and recognizing that the Perkins program is an important component of postsecondary training for adults. One positive step would be to include the language in S. 3349 in the reauthorization of Perkins.

We applaud Senator Reed’s and Baldwin’s attention to aligning public education and training systems to drive effectiveness and efficiency for all students.