News Releases

Murray Introduces Legislation to Help Students Prepare for 21st Century Careers

Apr 14 2011

Landmark education and workforce bill will authorize new grant program to support local partnerships that give students the skills needed to fill local family-wage jobs

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced major legislation to help state and regional leaders increase high school graduation rates and prepare America’s next generation of highly skilled workers. The landmark legislation – The Providing Innovation to 21st Century Careers Act - provides federal funding to communities that build coalitions between employers, schools, workforce experts, and others to give students skills to succeed in school and careers in high-demand industries.

“As we work to create jobs and get our economy back on track, it is more important than ever that our students are graduating with the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century career,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This bill will bring together businesses, schools, workforce and economic development experts, labor, and the community to help students get the skills and credentials they need for family-wage careers in their area.”

In developing this legislation, Senator Murray worked closely with employers, teachers and students, and workforce experts from Washington state and across the country. She reached out to regional skill centers, labor leaders, and schools, as well as leaders in industries like health care, construction, aerospace, and energy.  And she heard from so many of them that wanted to hire, but can’t find workers with the skills they need for the job. 

The Promoting Innovations to 21st Century Careers Act helps address critical education and workforce needs with:

  • New Resources - Establishes $912 million in federal competitive grants that can be used by state and regional partnerships to help students move from high school to a wide array of post-secondary education options, to skilled careers.
  • Strong Partnerships - Requires state and regional partnerships applying for funding to include representatives from high schools, post-secondary education, businesses, labor, workforce, and economic development organizations.
  • Supporting Innovations - Encourages state and regional partnerships to develop career pathways for high school students that include counseling, mentoring, work-based experiences, and support to obtain degrees, apprenticeships, and other postsecondary credentials.
  • Real Accountability –Incorporates measures to evaluate success of state and regional efforts, including reports to Congress.