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The Senate passed legislation on July 23 to reauthorize the Perkins Act, also known formally as the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The House will take up the Senate-passed version and the president is ready to sign the bill as soon as Congress finishes. The intention will be for Congress to finalize the bill prior to the House summer recess.
Republicans and Democrats on the Senate education committee reached a bipartisan deal to move the bill forward late last month. The agreement will allow states to set benchmarks for career and technical education using grants from the $1.2 billion program, a departure from existing law.
Last reauthorized in 2006, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is a $1.1 billion program that provides grants to states for help with programs for both the K-12 and at colleges and universities. The Trump administration has pushed for Congress to update the law as part of its broader efforts to boost apprenticeships and job training to aid American industry. Both the House and Senate education spending bills currently under consideration would also boost funding for Perkins in fiscal 2019, the next federal budget year.
If the bill is signed into law, then it would take effect July 1, 2019, and begin with a transition year to allow time for planning.
In related news, President Trump signed an executive order on July that will develop a national strategy to expand job-training and apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers. The executive order establishes the National Council for the American Worker, which will develop a national strategy for training and retraining workers for high-demand industries.