resident Donald Trump signed legislation overhauling the nation’s career and technical education law, which provides critical funding for training programs for U.S. students and workers.
The Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act for the first time since 2006. The law provides federal funding—over $1 billion through fiscal year 2024—for state and local career and technical education programs, while modifying how such funds are used to better target critical skills gaps.
These programs, tailored toward secondary and post-secondary students, will:
- Align career and technical education programs to the needs of local labor markets.
- Encourage stronger engagement between local employers and educational institutions.
- Increase work-based learning opportunities.
- Improve accountability and data transparency.
Passing the law was a rare bipartisan achievement after years of stalled efforts. The bill was originally sponsored by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill.
“In the 12 years since Congress passed the last Perkins reauthorization, the economy has evolved tremendously, becoming increasingly dependent on science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines and other skilled labor,” Trump said. “By enacting it into law, we will continue to prepare students for today’s constantly shifting job market, and we will help employers find the workers they need to compete.”
Trump Orders Expansion of Work-Based Learning
The Trump administration has pushed for Congress to update the CTE law as part of its broader efforts to boost apprenticeships, job training and the reskilling of U.S. workers. President Donald Trump issued an executive order June 15 to expand apprenticeships and vocational training.
Workforce Development Proposals Before Congress
Additional bills sitting in both legislative chambers would have a positive impact on closing the national skills gap, according to workforce development advocates.
SHRM Joins the Effort
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) joined the Trump administration’s national initiative to expand workforce training by committing to educate and prepare more than 127,000 HR professionals through the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification programs over the next five years. SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, signed the new Pledge to the American Worker on July 19.