Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, D-Va., has gathered bipartisan support for a funding measure to recalibrate how high schools educate children to meet the career and technical education demands of a 21st-century workforce.

Along with fellow Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Kaine today will introduce the CTE Excellence and Equity Act, which would provide $500 million in federal funding to schools in the form of competitive grants to encourage integration of CTE programs.

The measure encourages partnerships between school districts, employers and colleges and universities. Supporters view it as a complement to legislation recently passed in the Virginia General Assembly (SB 336/HB 895) to redesign graduation requirements to emphasize career readiness and workforce learning through job shadowing, internships and apprenticeships.

“To grow the most talented workforce in the world, we need to equip students with the skills to succeed in the 21st-century economy,” Kaine said in a statement.

“A high school education should prepare students for any pathway they choose, whether that’s attending a four-year university, earning credentials from a community college program or getting a high-skilled job after graduation.”

Rather than submit standalone legislation, Kaine’s bill would amend the $1.2 billion Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, which is expected to be considered by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee this year.

A decision on whether the bill will be included in the rewriting of the act will likely be made later this spring. Officials said bipartisan support for the bill gives it a good chance of getting to the Senate floor later this year.

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