WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a member of the Senate Education Committee, released the following statement after the House passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), which includes Cassidy’s measures preserving federal career and technical education (CTE) funding for Louisiana and helping high schools across the country establish or expand coding education programs.
“With education being such a hot point of debate in Louisiana’s state budget, losing 20 percent of our federal career and technical education funding was not an option,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The measures I included in this bill will make sure Louisiana continues to receive the federal dollars we need to help train our young people to enter the workforce, and also make new money available for schools’ coding and computer science programs, which prepare our children to succeed in the modern economy.”
“We appreciate Senator Cassidy and the Louisiana Delegation for supporting the mission of community and technical colleges,” said Monty Sullivan, president of Louisiana Community and Technical College System. “Our economy’s greatest asset is a skilled workforce, and Career and Technical Education programs are how we will generate more qualified workers. These programs challenge students to solve real-world problems providing them with a competitive advantage on day one. Protecting CTE funds will allow us to continue our STEM focused recruitment of women, increase the number of working age adults who graduate with a college credential, and provide a clear pathway to the workforce for Louisianans who lack a high school diploma.”
Under the House’s original version of the bill, Louisiana stood to lose as much as 20 percent of its federal CTE funding. Cassidy secured a provision preserving funding for Louisiana in the amended version that the House passed today.
The bill also includes a grant program based on legislation Cassidy introduced with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Coding Opportunities and Development for Equitable Students (CODES) Act. The program makes grants available to local educational agencies to advance computer science and coding skills that are critical to the jobs of the future, as well as the national security and economic competitiveness of the United States.