Industry associations are cheering U.S. House passage of a bill funding vocational education programs for the next six years.
On Tuesday, the House bill reauthorizing the Perkins Act — the law that federally funds much of the technical training in the U.S. — passed 405-5. Included in the bill is additional money for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The action was applauded by several HVAC sales groups, including the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and the Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors National Association.
“ASHRAE commends members of the U.S. House of Representatives for passing this bipartisan bill that would modernize career and technical education and provide renewed strength that will prepare students for in-demand careers,” said ASHRAE President Tim Wentz. “We strongly encourage the Senate to build on these efforts and take bold action to provide further support for STEM education. Such action would help meet the workforce pipeline need for an estimated 115,000 new HVAC and R technicians by 2022, which will be created through growth and retirements.”
PHCC President Chip Greene pointed out that the bill is still a ways from being signed into law.
“We still have more work to do in Congress regarding career and technical education, but I am pleased with the House of Representative’s vote today — now on to the Senate,” he said. “I am proud of the leadership PHCC and our members have taken in bringing the crucial importance of this legislation to lawmakers’ attention to ensure Perkins is not only authorized, but expands its level of services.”