Perkins Bills Introduced

by Rachel Zinn
July 8, 2014

Contributing to discussion about reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, several members of Congress have introduced bills that would amend portions of the law, including provisions on data collection and labor market alignment.  

The Perkins legislation – last reauthorized in 2006 – supports programs offered at the secondary and postsecondary level that combine academic instruction and occupational skills training to prepare individuals for transition to higher education or the workplace.

Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) are expected to introduce a bill this week that promotes work-based learning and would require Perkins programs to align curricula with local, regional and state labor market demands.

WDQC supports the use of labor market information to ensure alignment between education/training programs and employer needs.

House bill H.R. 4425, introduced in April by Congressmen Joseph P. Kennedy (D-MA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), also emphasizes the use of labor market information. It directs Perkins programs to prepare students for industry sectors or occupations that are in-demand as documented by labor market information from states, federal agencies or other entities. Further, the bill makes labor market analysis to ensure program alignment a required state leadership activity.

Another element of WDQC’s policy recommendations – measuring attainment of all types of credentials including certifications and licenses – is reflected in a bill introduced in June by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Kaine.

Senate bill S. 2524 expands the responsibilities of the National Research Center on Career and Technical Education, currently operated by the University of Louisville in Kentucky through a contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. New tasks would include:

  • providing technical assistance to help state and local entities report on industry-recognized credentials obtained by Perkins participants
  • establishing data sharing agreements with licensing agencies and certification bodies to track credential attainment using existing data

This bill also adds a performance measure on median post-program earnings for postsecondary Perkins students and signals wage records as the primary source for this data. It replaces a metric on completion of programs leading to jobs in non-traditional fields. The new metric aligns with a performance indicator in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, legislation to reauthorize major workforce development programs that recently passed the Senate and is scheduled for discussion in the House this week.