ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Obama's announcement of a $447 billion American Jobs Act to help revive the economy provides resources for several important career and technical education initiatives that will support education and skills training needed to get individuals back to work. The president's plan also provides positive investments to build the backbone of the nation's education system, a critical component to the nation's long-term health and stability.
Specific proposals that ACTE supports include:
- A $30 billion initiative to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers. Often non-academic teacher positions, such as career and technical educators, are the first eliminated, despite the fact that these courses keep many students engaged and involved in school. ACTE is pleased that the president's initiative applies to other important educators such as school counselors who are essential personnel related to student career development.
- $25 billion to modernize school facilities, including a $5 billion investment in community colleges. Enrollment in career and technical education programs, community and technical colleges, area career and technical centers and other CTE-related programs is at an all time high. All of these institutions need support as laid off employees seek to address retraining needs. The infrastructure needs of secondary schools is important too.
- Components of the Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs plan, including the "Bridge to Work" initiative, which will provide long-term unemployed workers receiving UI benefits an opportunity to pursue work-based training.
- Also a part of the Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs plan, the fund that would support low-income youth and adult retraining needs through summer youth jobs programs, subsidized employment opportunities built off of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund wage subsidy program, and innovative local work-based job training.
"As Congress focuses on jobs and matching worker skills with employer demands, career and technical education (CTE) provides the solution," said Janet Bray, Executive Director of ACTE. "We commend the president for including important CTE initiatives and we encourage him and other policymakers to provide more focus and investment in the CTE system as a whole."
Despite the president's jobs plan, the Obama Administration has proposed to reduce the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act by $264 million for Fiscal Year 2012. The Perkins Act supports both secondary and postsecondary institutions to help develop career pathway strategies, updating equipment, improving curricula and training teachers. "Most of the Administration's focus has been on immediate job openings, which is understandable," said Bray, "But, more needs to be done to help students and adults develop long-term career pathways. That's a large part of what CTE does and the Perkins Act supports these activities. We encourage the Administration to rethink its Perkins proposal and are asking Congress to fully fund the program."
Other portions of the president's jobs plan are encouraging such as the tax credit provisions and modernization of the nation's ailing infrastructure system. Many such proposals will depend on the nation's CTE system to deliver the workers needed to fill those jobs.
ACTE looks forward to learning more details about the American Jobs Act as details are released.
The Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation's largest not-for-profit education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. It provides advocacy, public awareness and access to information, professional development and tools that enable members to be successful and effective leaders. Founded in 1926, ACTE has more than 27,000 members including teachers, counselors and administrators at the middle school, high school and postsecondary levels.
SOURCE Association for Career and Technical Education