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Ore. Senator to Introduce Technical Education Grant Bill

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Feb. 28, 2018— Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., announced  at Lane Community College that he will introduce the BUILD (Building Understanding, Investment, Learning and Direction) Career and Technical Education Act of 2018, which would provide grants to support state efforts to restart career and technical education programs in middle and high schools, reported KTVZ.

“Carpentry, automotive, welding and other classes help broaden students’ perspective on possible professions and keep them engaged in school. Yet these important classes continue to be reduced or eliminated as public school budgets are stressed,” Merkley said.

Merkley said career and technical education broadens and informs student attitudes on a variety of education paths and potential professions, such as construction technology, welding, automotive, industrial automation, visual and graphic arts design, and manufacturing engineering.

The BUILD Career and Technical Education Act of 2018 provides $20 million in new federal funding to establish a two-year pilot grant program supporting career and technical education exploration programs in middle schools and high schools.

Unlike many existing grant programs, the application process established by this legislation explicitly takes into account the relative resources and capacity of each school district, so small and rural applicants won’t be at a disadvantage in the selection process.

Additionally, grants established through the legislation would go directly to school districts, allowing a significant amount of flexibility to ensure the program under their authority are rigorous, innovative, sustainable, and will truly prepare students to explore careers and develop skills required to enter in-demand careers, the senator said.

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