Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutionsby Senator Tim Kaine
Posted on 2015-02-12
KAINE (for himself, Ms. Baldwin, and Mr. Portman):
S. 478. A bill to promote career readiness indicators and career
counseling for students; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor,
Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, preparing all students to be college and career-ready upon graduating high school is one of the central promises that public education and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESEA, should fulfill. However, career readiness has [[Page S986]] all too often taken a back seat to a focus on traditional college preparation. Strong academic skills are essential to college preparation, but it takes much more to be truly ready for a career.
Today many students graduate high schools with little knowledge of the careers available to them and the technical skills needed to meet the demands of the 2lst century job market. ``Career readiness indicators'' are factors that demonstrate a student's preparedness, including both academic and technical knowledge and skills, for postsecondary education and the workforce. By encouraging school districts to track and report on career readiness indicators, States can send a signal to schools, communities, parents, and students that it is critical to be prepared for the workforce regardless of postsecondary education plans. Additionally, it provides public data for employers to help locate their operations in regions with a high- skilled workforce.
This is why I am pleased to introduce with my colleagues, Senator Portman and Senator Baldwin, the Career Ready Act, which will amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to expand on these efforts by encouraging more states to report on courses in their school systems. This includes utilizing multiple indicators of career readiness when states report data to the federal government such as student participation in career and technical education courses or attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials or academic and technical skills including industry-recognized credentials, certifications, licenses, and postsecondary degrees. Tracking and publishing this data provides much-needed information for businesses and workforce leaders that is not provided under current law.
This bipartisan legislation also strengthens the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant program in current law by placing an emphasis on career guidance and providing professional development for school counselors to use labor market information and partnerships with community groups such as local workforce investment boards, businesses, industries, and regional economic development agencies to educate students on postsecondary opportunities. The Career Ready Act encourages schools to align career exploration course offerings and counseling to the workforce needs of the local community and coordinate with the requirements of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.
I am proud to introduce this commonsense, bipartisan legislation to improve career readiness and career guidance to ensure students are prepared for the 21st century workforce. I strongly encourage my colleagues on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee to consider this legislation in any ESEA reauthorization.
______ By Mrs. FEINSTEIN: S. 487. A bill to amend the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to allow the rebuilding, without elevation, of certain structures that are located in areas having special flood hazards and are substantially damaged by fire, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.