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Perspective: New law provides more educational paths

Perspective: New law provides more educational paths

August 11th, 2018 by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer in Opinion

This week, I had the opportunity to attend the Callaway County Teachers' Appreciation breakfast, a wonderful event hosted by the Callaway County Chamber of Commerce. At the event, teachers from public and private schools across the county were recognized for their hard work and for the strong bonds between their school districts. It was a pleasure to meet many of our esteemed educators from Callaway County and an honor to share the many legislative solutions we've been working on in Washington.

In industries from manufacturing to banking to hospitality, jobs have drastically changed over the past decade. Due to recent advances in technology and a growing global economy, applicants without higher education or technical skills find it increasingly difficult to compete. While many high school graduates will head off to colleges and universities, a four-year school is not the right choice for everyone. Unfortunately, federal law regarding career and technical education (CTE) hasn't been updated in more than a decade, failing to reflect the realities facing students and workers as they enter the workforce.

Just days before I spoke with the Callaway County educators, President Donald Trump signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act into law. Introduced by my colleagues Congressman Glen Thompson, R-Pa., and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Il., this legislation changes our outdated laws, assisting Americans entering the workforce by making it easier to acquire the skills they need to compete.

I was proud to support the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act because it makes it easier for states to utilize federal programs to respond to changing educational needs. It also supports innovative learning opportunities and builds better community partnerships in order to improve alignment with in-demand jobs in our local communities. Finally, it increases transparency and accountability by requiring CTE programs to deliver on their promises, empowering parents, students and stakeholders to set performance goals and evaluate the effectiveness of local programs.

Thanks to the hard work of my congressional colleagues and President Trump, students and workers across the nation will have a better opportunity to choose the educational path that gives them the best chance to succeed and helps our communities grow. As back-to-school sales begin to pop up across the district, don't forget to thank the hardworking educators in your life who work day in and day out to prepare our students to reach their maximum potential.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 635-7232.