Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) released the following statement after the Senate passed legislation that would help modernize Career and Technical Education (CTE) initiatives by aligning programs in high school and college with current and future labor market needs.

The legislation included three critical Hatch priorities focused on Utah’s specific education needs, including preserving state flexibility and local control over educational decisions, promoting dual and concurrent enrollment, and incentivizing innovative learning models to help students complete their education and immediately enter a rapidly evolving and highly technical workforce.

"These bills create a fast, affordable route for students to gain the skills and earn the credentials they need to compete in today's global economy. It is past time Congress took steps to modernize Perkins and bring Career and Technical education into the 21st century. My bills will give states the opportunity to move beyond simply offering traditional vocational education, and start teaching students the skills needed to compete in Utah’s high-tech, high-skilled professions. Concurrent enrollment programs are demonstrably effective in helping young men and women prepare for their future careers. Take, for example, my home state of Utah: In 2015 alone, our students earned a variety of career certifications and collectively completed more than 180,000 credit hours of college-level courses—all before graduating high school. With each class students took, they were one step closer to finding a job or earning a college degree.”

Background:

Thanks in part to provisions the Senator authored, the bill preserves state flexibility and local control over educational decisions, encourages dual and concurrent enrollment, and incentivizes evidence-based, innovative learning models to help students complete their education and immediately enter a rapidly evolving and highly technical workforce. The Senator first introduced this legislation last March. Click here to read more.

S. 790: Innovation for Tomorrow's Workforce Act

  • Allows states to use a portion of their CTE funds for innovative, evidence-based practices including: improving teacher effectiveness, supporting work-based learning in CTE offerings, integrating STEM and computer science coursework into CTE, incorporating industry curriculum in CTE, and improving career outcomes in non-traditional fields.
  • Allows states’ flexibility to deploy pay-for-success strategies, expands the use of open-educational resources, and encourages competency-based education. \

S. 653: the Career and Technical Education Flexibility Act

  • Increases state flexibility under the maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement and allows the Secretary of Education to waive the MOE if states exhibit exceptional circumstances. 

S. 795: Workforce Advance Act

  • Introduces definitions of dual and concurrent enrollment, credit-transfer agreements, and early-college high school to Perkins CTE.
  • Encourages states to examine how they can expand access to CTE dual and concurrent enrollment and early college high school courses.