Challenging Obama Admin on Proposal to Siphon Career and Technical Education Funding for Untested Programs

April 30, 2014

This week, during a House Education & the Workforce Committee hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget for the U.S. Department of Education, I had the opportunity to question U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the Administration’s proposal to use $100 million of Career & Technical Education (CTE) programming dollars for an “innovation fund,” to create a competitive grant program.  The shift would diminish the overall federal funds allocated to CTE programs, especially in impoverished and rural areas.

We talk a lot about underemployment and dwindling workforce participation, but the solutions to many of those challenges is through CTE programming - the Carl D. Perkins Career & Technical Education Act. This is why I have deep concern with the Administration’s proposal to move $100 million away from CTE State Grants.

There are not too many social ills that are not cured with a good paying, family sustaining job. CTE programming enables individuals to have the skills necessary to be truly career and college ready, which is why I pressed Secretary Duncan on the Administration's prioritization of spending on untested and often duplicative education initiatives, given we have a tried and true solution in Perkins.

As Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional CTE Caucus, in April, I along with fellow CTE Caucus Co-Chairman, Rep. Jim Jangevin, D-RI, initiated a letter, which garnered the support of 93 Members of Congress, to the House Appropriations Committee, urging a strong federal investment in Carl D. Perkins CTE programming as part of the FY 2015 appropriations bills.

In April, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium awarded Thompson and Langevin the 2014 Star of Education Award, for their advocacy in support of CTE programming, including work to secure the $1.125 billion CTE allocation contained in the FY 2014 consolidated appropriations bill.

I look forward to continuing to protect aspiring learners of all ages through the promotion and expansion of CTE programming, which is critical to America’s future competitiveness.