Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Promote Vocational Education & Entrepreneurship, Train Future Workforce For 21st Century Economy

Oct 2, 2017

Albany, NY U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will visit the South Colonie Central School District to announce her bipartisan legislation, 21st Century Strengthening Hands On Programs that Cultivate Learning Approaches for Successful Students Act. This bill would direct federal funding to high-tech training and education programs in high schools and institutions of higher education, which would give more students the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to get good-paying jobs in the high-tech manufacturing sector. U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) is a cosponsor of this bill.

Technologies like 3D printers, laser cutters, and computerized machine tools are transforming American manufacturing and increasing the need for specialized training for manufacturing jobs. To prepare our students with the skills needed for high-tech jobs, this legislation would amend the Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act to give greater priority to funding for maker education, makerspaces, and training for teachers in the application of maker education.

“Many manufacturing companies in our state have job openings with good salaries, but they can’t fill them because too many workers haven’t had the opportunity to learn the skills they need to take on those jobs. We need to fix this,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m proud to introduce new bipartisan legislation to make sure tech-ed classes are teaching students how to use the latest high-tech tools, like 3D printers, that manufacturing companies expect them to know how to use. Our students should be able to take many different paths in order to get a good job and earn a good salary, and this bill would help equip more students with the skills they need to get on a path towards good-paying high-tech jobs when they graduate high school.”

“It is important that our students have the most up-to-date technology and facilities available to them to be better prepared for a 21st century skill set,” said Jonathan Buhner, Superintendent of School, South Colonie Central School District.

“Career and Technical Education is an essential pathway to success for public school students and an engine for workforce development around our state,” said Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Anita Murphy. “The NYS Education Department highlighted CTE as a success indicator in its recent submission of the states ESSA plan. Statewide, 95 percent of BOCES CTE seniors graduate on time and 52 percent of them go on to college. Further, high school graduates with CTE certifications and training are snapped up by employers because they have marketable skills that are in high demand in this region and beyond. An investment in 21st Century Career and Technical Education classrooms is a win for kids, communities and the state workforce as a whole.”

“Students intuitively have a maker mindset,” said Daniel Schneiderman, Founder of NYS Makers. “Their spirit needs to be nurtured and encouraged in order to fully equip them with key hands-on skills and creative thinking needed for the 21st century. By extending the current Perkins Act language to support maker education, we’re enabling educators to support their students’ innovative curiosity.”

“The next generation of jobs will require ingenuity, flexibility, and constant reinvention,” said Melinda Mack, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals. “Using Perkins resources to widen the variety of career opportunities and expose young adults to critical work-skills like team work, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, etc. can only benefit New York and the nation.”

This investment in vocational education would give more students the technical skills needed for good-paying jobs, providing hands-on learning experiences for students to use high-tech industrial tools to create and innovate. This approach to technical education will offer more opportunities to inspire the next generation of manufacturing workers and entrepreneurs. This bill, as well as a broader reauthorization of federal CTE programs, will help promote to career and technical education to set more students up for success by preparing them for the jobs of the future.

Importance of Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Manufacturing Needs Career and Technical Education (CTE)

  • Through 2025, an estimated 2 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers.
  • Modern manufacturing is increasingly high-tech and creates complex technical jobs that require technical-skill training. 70 percent of manufacturing executives indicate a need for more workers who have high-tech skills.
  • Maker education motivates and inspires young people to excel in STEM subjects and prepares students for careers in design, advanced manufacturing, and entrepreneurship that will shape the nation’s economic future.

U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) introduced this legislation with Gillibrand. A bipartisan House version of this legislation was introduced by Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Susan Brooks (R-IN).