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EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW’S JOBS: New Legislation Would Combine Rigorous College Prep with Workplace Experience

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“The Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act is about American competitiveness—an integrated approach to education that will bolster student achievement, graduation rates, college readiness and career readiness, while securing our nation’s technical job base so that we can remain globally competitive.”

On October 12, U.S. Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Judy Chu (D-CA) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act, which would combine rigorous college preparation with workplace experience in an effort to improve student engagement, academic achievement, and success after high school. The legislation is under consideration as part of the ongoing effort in Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act.

“The Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act is about American competitiveness—an integrated approach to education that will bolster student achievement, graduation rates, college readiness and career readiness, while securing our nation’s technical job base so that we can remain globally competitive,” Thompson said. “We have seen the harmful effects of Washington’s education mandates and this bill will allow schools to put forth the framework to ensure students have both the knowledge and skills to graduate high school ready to succeed in college and careers, and live up to the fullest extent of their individual potential.”

The legislation encourages the use of federal funds to support Linked Learning, a high school reform strategy in place throughout California that links demanding technical education with real-world experience in a wide range of high-growth occupations, such as engineering, arts and media, biomedicine, and health. Linked Learning makes the high school experience more relevant and engaging, and evidence suggests that Linked Learning students are more likely to go on to postsecondary education.

“I’m proud to reintroduce a bipartisan bill that promotes the Linked Learning approach to high school improvement that has shown dramatic results in California,” Chu said. “By showing students the connection between school and the workplace through partnerships in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand industries such as engineering or digital media, we can increase high school graduation rates, raise college attendance rates, and improve jobs prospects for students. The Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act will modernize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to meet the needs of our changing economy and workforce.”

Under the legislation, school districts in partnership with local stakeholders—including businesses, unions, parent organizations, and other community members—would implement a system of pathway schools around career themes designated as high-pay, high-growth, and high-skill industries. Students would be exposed to four key components, including a rigorous academic core aligned to the state’s postsecondary requirements; career and technical education; work-based learning; and supplemental services.

“In today’s knowledge-based economy, the high school diploma is no longer the end point; it’s the jumping off point,” said Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise. “By connecting strong academics, demanding technical education and real-world experience in a wide range of high-growth occupations, such as engineering, arts and media, biomedicine, and health, the Linked Learning approach helps to eliminate the gap between what students learn in the classroom and what they learn on the job. The end results are high school graduates who are better prepared to succeed in college and a career and employers who are more satisfied with their workers.”

More information on the Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act is available athttps://all4ed.org/federal_policy/legislative_updates/education_tomorrow_s_jobs_act.

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