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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

Sen. Rubio Promotes CTE in Higher Education Reform

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February 14, 2014

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Sen. Rubio Promotes CTE in Higher Education Reform  

This week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke about the importance of skills training and CTE, and proposed a new series of policy initiatives in postsecondary education. During remarks he gave at Miami-Dade College in Miami, Florida on Monday, Rubio discussed revitalizing postsecondary education with a focus on developing skills and knowledge aligned with careers in the new economy. He focused on addressing the “growing opportunity gap” through polices that will help to expand access to education and training for all students.   

Sen. Rubio promoted CTE as a cost-effective option for students. “What they [students] need is more affordable degrees or career education options that are tailored to their specific needs and talents,” said Rubio. “We should make career and vocational education more widespread and more accessible.” He cited apprenticeship programs, business and industry partnerships, and online learning as some specific models for expanding access to CTE.    

Rubio addressed the rising cost of higher education and the need better equip students with information  necessary to make informed decisions about the education pathway that will best prepare them for their future careers. He highlighted the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act (S. 915), which he cosponsored with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), that will provide students with data on their future earnings potential and their expected cost of postsecondary education. He also proposed an overhaul and expansion of income-based repayment systems in which student loan payments are tied to post-graduation income. He went on to propose a new Student Investment Plan where private investors would pay a student’s tuition in return for a percentage of the student’s income over a set period of time after graduation. He promoted the plan as a way for students to pursue a postsecondary education without having to take out loans. Finally, he proposed a pilot program to incentivize federal agencies to hire employees that obtain skills training through “non-traditional sources” as part of a larger effort to encourage the recognition of free online courses and real-world experience for the purposes of receiving transferable credit at postsecondary institutions.

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