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The Association for Print Technologies commends President Trump and Congress for taking major steps this past week in advancing workforce career and technical education, which include an Executive Order establishing the National Council for the American Worker, the White House Pledge to America’s Workers initiative, making the expansion of workforce development a national priority, and enactment of the bipartisan Perkins CTE reauthorization bill, S. 3217, Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, by both the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives by unanimous voice vote.

Senate Bill 3217 would align career and technical education with workforce needs, thereby helping students acquire vital skills needed for today’s manufacturing jobs. It would also strengthen the use of industry-recognized credentials and allow funds to be used to purchase manufacturing equipment and credentialing exams to prepare the future pipeline of manufacturing talent. It also includes several important changes to companion legislation, H.R. 2353 that passed the House last year, including increasing funding and expanding career exploration into the middle grades.

The newly minted Perkins Act reauthorization now awaits the President’s signature and will take effect July 1, 2019 after a transition year to allow time for planning. Reauthorization of the Perkins Act was a top priority advocated by industry executives who meet with legislators on Capitol Hill during the 2018 Print & Packaging Legislative Summit. Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8-IL) and Glenn Thompson (R-5-PA) were the lead co-sponsors of H.R. 2353, the original Perkins Act reauthorization legislation in the House, and were recipients of the Summit Friend of Print & Packaging Award for their leadership in workforce CTE.

The Presidential Executive Order establishing a National Council for the American Worker is designed to produce a national strategy on workforce development and engage a national campaign to implement the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. The Executive Order also establishes an advisory board of public and private sector leaders that will be charged with developing further recommendations. Additionally, the Department of Labor announced a new grant program to expand apprenticeships in key industry sectors. APTech is investigating how this program might be applied in the printing industry.

For more information contact APTech Vice President, Government Affairs Mark J. Nuzzaco at 703-264-7235, or mnuzzaco@aptech.org.