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Dear Congress: A letter from 200 Businesses And Organizations

by Melanie Anderson   •   Skills-Gap-Statistic-Infographic

As you know, we’ve been pushing hard for the reauthorization of the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act because we know that access to high-quality career and technical programs is essential to closing America’s skills gap.

Today, Opportunity Nation and more than 200 companies and organizations signed the letter below urging Members of Congress to update and improve this crucial federal law that sends more than $1 billion to states each year.

Join us in supporting CTE reauthorization by voicing your support of #PerkinsCTE.

Tweet: Dear Congress: @OppNation @IBM @ITI_TechTweets & 200+ orgs want #CTE reform now! #PerkinsCTE Dear Congress: @OppNation @IBM @ITI_TechTweets & 200+ orgs want #CTE reform now! #PerkinsCTE 


Melanie Anderson
Director of Government Affairs | Opportunity Nation
Opportunity Nation | Twitter | Facebook

P.S. Opportunity Nation is also incredibly excited that a bipartisan, bicameral WIA bill is being announced later today – stay tuned for more information from us on that!

Dear Members of Congress,

We the undersigned businesses and organizations urge you to move forward with reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). As the American economy recovers from the most significant economic recession in recent memory, employers are still reporting a shortage of skilled workers to fill in-demand positions. Career and technical education (CTE) programs, found throughout the country, are central to overcoming this skills gap and provide greater opportunity for America’s youth and adults.

CTE has proven to be an effective tool for improving student outcomes and helps prepare both secondary and postsecondary students with the necessary academic, technical, and employability skills required for successful entry into the workforce. Indeed, CTE prepares students both for college and careers.

Reauthorizing the Perkins Act is critical for the continued economic prosperity of the United States and ensures the country remain a leader in global competitiveness. As Congress sets out on this task, we urge you and your colleagues to focus on areas where improvements can be made to current law, building upon its past successes and enhancing aspects of the Perkins Act, which will help to better serve both workers and employers. A reauthorized version of Perkins should:          

  • Align CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state, and local labor market;

  • Support effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers;

  • Increase student participation in experiential learning opportunities such as industry internships, apprenticeships and mentorships; and promote the use of industry-recognized credentials.

These improvements will more effectively spend federal dollars to help our nation’s students acquire the skills that they need and employers are demanding.  We urge you to move forward with this important work and applaud Congress’ ongoing bipartisan commitment to invest in our nation’s students, workers, and economy.


ACE Clearwater Enterprises


Aeronautical Repair Station Association

Aerospace Industries Association

Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute

Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Association of Community Colleges

American Association of People with Disabilities

American Cleaning Institute

American Coatings Association

American Federation of Teachers

American Foundation for the Blind

American Road & Transportation Builders Association

Applied Materials

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Arizona Manufacturers Council

Arizona School Boards Association

Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce

Arrow Gear Company

Associated Equipment Distributors

Associated General Contractors of America

Association for Computing  Machinery

Association of Career and Technical Education

Association of Global Automakers, Inc.

Association of Washington Business


Augustus F. Hawkins Foundation

Austin Chamber of Commerce

Austin Community College

Auto Care Association

Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC)

Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES)


Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation

Boeing Company

Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA)

Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Business Council of Westchester

Business Roundtable

CA Botana International, Inc.

CA Technologies

California Manufacturers & Technology Association

California STEM Learning Network

Carpenters’ District Council of Greater St. Louis & Vicinity

Cecil College

Center for Employment Training

Central Arizona College

CEO Council for Growth


Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

Citizen Schools

Clow Stamping Company

Cloyes Gear and Products, Inc.

Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry (CACI)

Colorado Succeeds

Columbia Vista Corporation

Communities in Schools of North Carolina

Computer Science Teachers Association

Cook Medical

Copper & Brass Fabricators Council

Corn Refiners Association

Corporate Education Consulting, Inc

Council of Industry of Southeastern New York

Cox Manufacturing Co., Inc.

CTE Academy, Round Rock, Texas

Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation (DASEF)

Delta Engineers, Architects, & Land Surveyors 

Dominion Resources, Inc.

Eastern Arizona College

Eastern Arizona College of Health & Physical Education Division

Eastern Arizona College of Welding

Eastman Chemcial Company

Elbit Systems of America



Enkei America, Inc.

Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International

Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturers’ Enterprise (FAME)

General & Automotive Machine Shop, Inc

Georgia Association of Manufacturers

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Greater Dubuque Development Corporation

Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce

Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce

Hermann Oak Leather

Hewlett-Packard Company


Honda North America, Inc.

Houston Area Urban League

HR Policy Association


INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry

Industrial Minerals Association – North America

Industrial Tool, Die & Engineering, Inc.

Industry Workforce Needs Council

Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)

Ingersoll Rand

Innovate Educate 

 Integrity Aerospace Group

Intel Corporation

International Technology and Engineering Educators Association

Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council

J C Renfroe & Sons

Jack Wymer, LLC

Jackson Area Manufacturers Association

Jim Godfrey & Associates LLC

Jobs for the Future

Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association

Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association

Lanxess Corporation

Lexmark International

Magnet Schools of America

Manufacturers Association of Florida

MarZee, Inc.

Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE)

Massachusetts Business Roundtable (MBR)


Michigan Manufacturers Association

Micron Technology

Mississippi Manufacturers Association

Missouri Chamber of Commerce

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education –Office of College & Career Readiness

Montana Chamber of Commerce

Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association

National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)

National Association of Manufacturers

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

National Association of Trailer Manufacturers

National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF)

National Center for Technological Literacy at the Museum of Science, Boston

National Council for Advanced Manufacturing

National Council of State Directors of Adult Education

National Girls Collaborative Project

National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)

National Skills Coalition

National Tooling and Machining Association

NCR Corporation


New Jersey Business & Industry Association

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

New Jersey Employer Coalition for Technical Education

New Mexico STEM Network

North American Die Casting Association

North American Technician Excellence

North Carolina New Schools

North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA)

Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Association

Northrop Grumman Corporation

OEM Fabricators, Inc.

Opportunity America

Opportunity Nation

Optimax Systems, Inc.


Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA)

Pathways to Prosperity Kansas/Missouri Regional Council


Philadelphia Education Fund

Philadelphia Works, Inc.

Phoenix Closures, Inc.

Pima Community College

Pivot Manufacturing

Polaris Industries

Power Transmission Distributors Association

Precision Machined Products Association

Precision Metalforming Association

PTC Group Holdings Corp.

Quality Float Works, Inc.

Radix Wire

Red Hat

Rockwell Collins

San Antonio Manufacturers Association

San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce




Silicon Valley Education Foundation

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Skills for America’s Future


Specialty Equipment Market Association

Specialty Graphic Imaging Association

Spirit Aerosystems

Stellar Industries, Inc.


Taminco Global Chemical Corp

Tech Council of Maryland


Technology Association of Iowa


Texas Association of Business

The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT)

The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association

Thermcraft, Inc


Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

Triangle Coalition for STEM Education

Trim-Tex, Inc.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

United Way for Greater Austin

United Way Silicon Valley

United Ways of Texas

Universal Technical Institute

Uniweld Products Inc.

Utah Manufacturers Association

Valley Industrial Association

Vernier Software & Technology

Virginia Manufacturers Association

Washington STEM

Young Invincibles



Melanie Anderson Melanie Anderson is the Director of Government and External Affairs at Opportunity Nation. She directs the campaign’s government relations and policy efforts. Read Melanie's bio.

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