Workforce Development Grants Available July 1

New reforms to strengthen the Perkins career and technical education (CTE) program will go into effect July 1. Approved by Congress and signed into law last year, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) updates the federal education grant program to help more students gain the skills they need for in-demand jobs.

Under the new statute, states will be allowed to reserve more funds for CTE programs in rural areas and for innovative CTE programs. Local CTE providers will also be required to carry out a needs assessment to better align the offered programs of study with local labor market needs and in-demand occupations. Finally, the legislation created a new national competitive grant program aimed at identifying, supporting, and evaluating evidence-based and innovative strategies and activities to improve and modernize CTE and align workforce skills with labor market needs.

NSSGA would like to thank the bipartisan work of Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., and Glenn “GT” Thompson. R-Pa., who introduced and shepherded these much-needed reforms to our nation’s education programs through Congress.

As employers in the stone, sand and gravel business know, having a skilled and highly trained workforce is paramount to safely operating quarries and other production facilities. These changes to the Pekins CTE program will help close the current skills gap by bringing businesses and educators together to build training programs that will prepare students for in-demand careers.

NSSGA, as part of a wide coalition of varied industries, advocated for the bill for over a year. “After a long hiatus, the construction industry is roaring back, and contractors in many regions face all the work they can handle. But many report they are unable to bid on projects because of labor shortages, and according to industry groups, the sector will face a shortage of 1.5 million craft workers by 2020,” NSSGA and others wrote to members of Congress in June 2018. “We are also extremely pleased by the legislation’s focus on work-based learning – grateful for the funding made available for work-based learning at the state and local levels and through the innovation and modernization grant program.”

Funded through the annual appropriations process, CTE programs received a historic $1.9 billion in funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, an increase of $100 million over the previous year. This funding will be allocated by the Department of Education (DOE) starting July 1.

NSSGA will continue to advocate for robust funding and further reforms to these critical education programs to ensure aggregate producers are able to access the skilled employees needed to continue producing the building blocks of America.

For more information about these changes and CTE programs please visit https://cte.ed.gov/

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