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PMMI and NAM Urge Congress to Reauthorize Bill Supporting Modern Workforce

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act provides training for the next generation of manufacturing workers

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In an effort to strengthen the packaging and processing workforce, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, has signed on with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to support the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, designed to help Americans develop the skills they need to compete for high-skilled, in-demand jobs.

In 2016, the House of Representatives passed “the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.” This legislation was a bipartisan effort that would have helped our nation’s students acquire the skills needed to be successful in today’s work environment. While the legislation had overwhelming support, passing the House of Representatives by a vote of 405-5, it did not receive Senate consideration.

Employers are reporting a shortage of skilled workers to fill in-demand positions. Modernized and relevant career and technical education (CTE) programs, designed with the input of employers and responsive to the needs identified by labor market data, are central to overcoming this skills gap.

“PMMI members are struggling to find the right technical talent required to fuel the innovation needed in our industry,” says Glen Long, senior vice president, PMMI. “Programs such as Perkins CTE will go a long way toward ensuring our members, and the industry as a whole, have the right people with the right skills to move our industry forward and compete in a global market. We are proud to stand with NAM and support this legislation.”

CTE is an effective tool for improving student outcomes and helps prepare both secondary and postsecondary students with the necessary academic, technical and employability skills required to be successful in the workforce. CTE prepares students both for college and careers and is critical to meeting the needs of this new 21st century economy.

New legislation should focus on areas where improvements can be made to current law, such as:

• Align CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state, and local labor market;

• Support effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers;

• Increase student participation in work-based learning opportunities; and

• Promote the use of industry recognized credentials and other recognized postsecondary credentials, such as the PMMI Mechatronics Certifications.

These improvements will more effectively spend federal dollars to help our nation’s students acquire the skills that they need and employers are demanding. By signing on with NAM to support this legislation, PMMI urges Congress to move forward with reauthorization of Perkins Career and Technical Education based on the broadly supported legislation from 2016 and appreciate the ongoing, bipartisan commitment to invest in our nation’s students, workers and economy through the Perkins CTE program.

“Congress needs to know that employers across the country, including PMMI members, are reporting moderate to serious shortages of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled positions,” says Stephan Girard, director of workforce development, PMMI. “Reauthorizing Perkins will help ensure a quality employee pipeline for employers and access to in-demand and high paying jobs for America’s workforce.”

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