RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Get Afterschool Updates
Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
JUL
7
2017

POLICY
email
print

"Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century" passes the House

By Jillian Luchner

The Afterschool Alliance celebrates the passing of H.R. 2353, Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century. The bill passed the House of Representatives by voice vote on June 22. The two major Career and Technical Associations have endorsed the bill.

The bill’s language borrows substantially from the CTE bill which passed the House in the 114th Congress and enjoys broad bipartisan support. H.R. 2353 provides much-needed updates to the current law, including an ability to begin pathways for youth earlier (fifth grader rather than seventh), an explicit inclusion of community-based partners as eligible entities for CTE work, and a recognition of the importance of employability skills, science, technology, engineering and math (the field known as STEM), and helping youth engage in non-traditional career fields. The bill would also gradually increase appropriations of the approximately $1 billion legislation by 1.38 percent each year through 2023.

Afterschool and summer program’s role in career pathways is a relationship that makes sense on the ground and in the halls of Congress. During the Afterschool for All Challenge, held in Washington D.C. June 6 and 7, advocates, program providers, students and parents from around the country met with their representatives to talk about afterschool and what programs look like day-to-day. Many conversations focused on innovative ways programs across the country are preparing students for careers, be it wind energy in Wyoming, digital programming in Maryland, or unmanned aerial aircraft in North Dakota.

Advocates and representatives shared a sense that, in addition to the other services programs provide, introducing students to and preparing students for the workforce opportunities and employability skills in demand in their local economies provided strong personal and public benefits. During the House hearing before the bill vote, representatives from across the political spectrum spoke to the importance of updating and reauthorizing this piece of legislation.

In order for H.R. 2353 to become law, the Senate must now take up the CTE baton. Last year, Senate offices remained very positive and receptive to many of the updates in the House’s bill, including those listed above which better leverage the afterschool community. However, the Senate was not able to release a bill of its own due to concerns over whether the bill gave too much authority to the executive branch of government.

Those in the afterschool field should continue to inform their representatives about the great work afterschool and summer programs do to prepare youth for careers. The message is resonating!