WASHINGTON — Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) applauds the passage of H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

This legislation is heavily endorsed by HARDI, having been one of the prominent issues pushed to Congressional staff and members at the annual HARDI Congressional Fly-in in May.

“There is a massive, growing shortage of certified HVACR technicians in the industry,” said HARDI Vice President of Government and External Affairs, Jon Melchi. “HARDI has supported this legislation because of how important it is to attract talent to HVACR businesses and encourage young people to explore career alternatives in the trades. HARDI members’ collective efforts, especially at our Congressional Fly-in last month, have helped the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act gain the support it needed.”

The bill passed the House of Representatives unanimously.

Specifically, the legislation empowers state and local community leaders, increases transparency and accountability, and ensures that the needs of both students and employers are being met. The bill also eases burdensome state requirements by simplifying the requirements states must follow when applying for federal funds.

This bill also increases the amount of federal funds that states can set aside to assist CTE programs in rural areas or areas with a significant number of CTE students from 10 percent to 15 percent and uses federal funds to support CTE programs focused on a state’s unique education and economic needs or state-based innovation.

“Far too many Americans have difficulty accessing the education and skills needed to build a promising career and successful future," bill sponsor Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.) said. "Jobs are going unfilled as employers face a shortage of skilled workers. Stronger career and technical education programs are exactly what this country needs to prepare our workers for the demands of a 21st century economy and meet the needs of employers. Today, we have handed a win to the American worker. This bipartisan bill puts America on the right path to closing the skills gap and sets our workers up for a future of success.”

For more information, visit hardinet.org.

Publication date: 7/12/2017