At Appropriations Hearing, Senator Sees Career-Tech Programs Helping Fill Empty Well-Paying Jobs

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today found common ground with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on the need to increase opportunities for students to purse good jobs through career and technical education programs.

Hyde-Smith serves on the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee that today conducted a hearing to review the FY2020 budget request for the U.S. Department of Education.

“Congress has continued to show support of workforce development, most recently with the reauthorization of career and technical education legislation,” Hyde-Smith said.  “There many well-paying jobs within Mississippi and across the nation, which are waiting to be filled by students with special technical skills.  It is important that we work together to remove any remaining stigmas associated with career and technical jobs.”

“I’m very interested in knowing how we can support and expand access to career and technical education programs in our K-12 system and community colleges,” she said.

In her hearing testimony, DeVos pointed to the budget recommendation for Career and Technical Education (CTE) state grants to encourage more students to complete post-secondary certificate programs, applied associate degree programs, and apprenticeships.  The CTE budget also includes a focus on STEM and information technology-related programs, such as advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, engineering technology, allied health, and mechanics.

The Secretary also promoted an “education freedom scholarships plan” that would allow states to tailor CTE programs to fit the needs of communities, including pre-apprenticeship programs.  The initiative also involves educating students about opportunities beyond traditional four-year university degree programs.

“Waiting until they are in eleventh or twelfth grade is almost too late, and we know there are so many good opportunities out there,”DeVos said.  “At the same time it’s a really important for business and industry to come close to and partner with educators to create the programs that are designed to meet those needs and give the students the opportunities to pursue those jobs.”

Hyde-Smith also asked DeVos to support greater regional diversity in implementing federal research and grants to address the specific challenges of high-need rural schools and students.

“Many of us agree that when it comes to education, one size does not fit all.  What works in an urban area, does not necessarily translate to success in rural areas in my home state of Mississippi,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I remain pleased Congress has continually passed legislation to decentralize the everyday decision-making from Washington and returning it back to our state and local educators.”

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith Press Release

3/38/2019