The nation’s economy is only as strong as the educational foundation that supports it. Economic success in the twenty-first century requires a labor force capable of demonstrating an advanced level of both knowledge and skill. To be a true engine of growth, the nation’s education system must be aligned with these demands. This is why the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Educational Improvement Act of 2006 (Perkins), the nation’s largest federal investment in secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE), is both critical and timely. As a result of the previous reauthorization, a greater emphasis was placed on improving the academic achievement of CTE students, program accountability, and the link between secondary and postsecondary education. The next reauthorization of Perkins must continue to build on these changes, ensuring that the opportunities provided at the secondary school level are relevant, engaging, of high quality, and aligned with the career demands that lie ahead, and that such opportunities place a targeted focus on those youth who have traditionally been least likely to have access to the educational opportunities that prepare them to be both college and career ready.