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Calls to Action

Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is reauthorized

July 31, 2018

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was reauthorized on July 31, 2018. This law increases access to employment opportunities for people with autism and other disabilities. 

Perkins-funded CTE programs provide the skills training and experience that are critical for guiding youth through the transition out of secondary school into employment or continued education.

Approximately 500,000 youth with autism will enter adulthood over the next 10 years. Over one-third of young adults with autism never get a job or continue education after high school.

Perkins helps students with disabilities secure employment after graduation by integrating youth into the labor market early. It supports cooperative education which combines academic study and career and technical education (CTE) with work experience in a related field.

The reauthorization of Perkins CTE supports a well prepared, community-led, inclusive workforce by encouraging

  • Proven CTE programs, practices, and strategies

  • broad CTE framework more closely aligned with the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act

  • Community involvement by connecting local job markets to local schools

  • Workplace-based training

  • Relationships between individuals on the spectrum and potential employers

  • Improved accountability and performance indicators

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was originally passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2017. The U.S. Senate amended the bill and passed the legislation on July 23, 2018. The House adopted the Senate's language and passed the bill on July 25. The president signed it into law on July 31.

Autism Speaks served as a primary stakeholder on Perkins CTE reauthorization. We worked across the aisle with party leadership of the Senate HELP and House Education and Workforce committees. We also provided assistance to our legislative champions, Representatives Thompson and Krishnamoorthi and Senators Enzi and Casey. We are prepared to assist with the implementation of the new law going forward.