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Career and technical education bill unanimously passes committee

July 14, 2016

The House Education and the Workforce Committee has voted unanimously to approve the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587), a bill that would reauthorize our nation’s career and technical education (CTE) programs and help students with autism gain skills necessary for employment.  

With some 50,000 people with autism entering adulthood each year in the United States, access to employment opportunities and pre-employment or transition programs, like CTE, are critical. Youth with disabilities are more likely to be successfully employed if they have acquired work and skills training during their secondary school years. H.R. 5587 ensures that schools provide work-based learning to help students acquire employability and technical skills.  

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), co-chair of the House CTE Caucus, and Katherine Clark (D-MA), would increase access to quality work-based learning opportunities, earlier career exploration and guidance and improve coordination with existing pre-employment and transition programs. 

Autism Speaks applauds the passage of H.R. 5587 as it makes huge strides for accessible and inclusive career and technical education programs.  

“The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act provides a strong framework for the development and improvement of CTE programs accessible to all students, " said Angela Lello, senior director for public policy at Autism Speaks. We are pleased to see the incorporation of many priorities that improve the employment and independent living outcomes for students with autism.”  

Read more about the benefits of career and technical education for students with autism here

Autism Speaks will continue to advocate for increased opportunities for work-based learning and career and technical education, an evidence-based strategy that successfully transitions youth and young adults with autism to employment or continued education.  

Read more about including career and technical education in a student’s IEP here

All students deserve educational opportunities that best prepare them for the next step in life after secondary school, whether it is continuing education or a career. For many Americans, employment is a critical part of fulfilling and productive lives.  

Autism Speaks advocates will work closely with members from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee on introducing the Senate reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.  

 Make your voice heard on education policy here.