For the first time in a decade, the House of Representatives has approved a bill to provide support for technical and career education. The measure passed by 400 votes, including the full Houston delegation.
The bill authorizes federal funding for vocational training at high schools and in post-secondary school programs. It also makes it easier for schools to reform their programs to fit the hiring needs of local employers.
"I think everybody recognizes that whether you're in Katy ISD or Goose Creek [CISD] in Baytown, you know, that each school district can benefit from offering these career programs that you partner with the skills you need in your area," says Democratic Rep. Gene Green, whose district covers much of East Houston and Harris County.
The measure could help ease shortages of skilled labor in the construction industry. "We have been pushing for Congress to act on this measure for years now because of the concerns we're hearing from our members about workforce shortages," says Brian Turmail, a spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of America.
The large bipartisan vote in the House gives the bill extra momentum heading into the Senate.