Press Release

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

Dec 15, 2017

Buffalo, NY U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today visited the Harkness Career & Technical Center 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 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 toward good-paying high-tech jobs when they graduate high school.”

“The continued development of our local economy is only possible with a skilled workforce,” said Lynn Fusco, District Superintendent and CEO of Erie 1 BOCES. “As a provider of career and technical education, we know first-hand how a student’s ability to demonstrate her idea can open up a world of possibility. We appreciate the senator’s support of this bipartisan effort to increase hands-on training opportunities.”

“There are hundreds of manufacturing and production jobs available in Western New York right now,” said State Senator Tim Kennedy. “This legislation will give programs like Erie 1 BOCES the resources they need to train students for the jobs that are available today, and the advanced manufacturing careers of the future. Once again, Senator Gillibrand is helping to lead the fight for good-paying jobs, and I am proud to stand with her as she advances this legislation.”

“This legislation would help ensure American students have the skills and resources needed to succeed in our 21st century economy,” said Assemblymember Monica Wallace. “There are hundreds of skilled workers in our region who will soon be retiring, but we don’t have new, skilled workers to replace them. These are good paying jobs that are essential to businesses in our community. High-tech manufacturing jobs are critical to our local economy, and we need a skilled workforce ready to fill those positions. This initiative will provide students with opportunities for hands-on learning using state-of-the-art technologies. I applaud Senator Gillibrand’s efforts to direct federal funding into the classrooms to ensure our students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.”

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 Senator 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).