July 11, 2014

U.S. Education Secretary visits Ankeny to push career program

U.S. Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, visited Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny today to push an administration plan to spend one-billion dollars to renew what’s called the Perkins Act. The act was first implemented six years ago and the renewal would fund what’s called Career and Technical Education (CTE).

“The Perkins Act of 2006 introduced important changes, but it did not go far enough to address the educational and economic needs of both our nation’s youth and adult students. The Perkins program must be transformed if it is to live up to its potential to prepare every youth and adult to participate in the knowledged-based global marketplace of the 21st Century,” Duncan says.

Duncan says technical training is important in helping the economy recovery. “What drives me craze every single day in these tough economic times, we have at least two-million high-skilled, high-waged jobs that we can’t fill in this country,” according to Duncan.

He says the problem is not a jobs crisis. “We have a skills crisis,” Ducan says. He says this new act is what is needed to prepare people for high-skilled, high-wage jobs.

The Education Department says by 2018, jobs requiring postsecondary credentials will grow by about twice as much as jobs for high school graduates and dropouts. Yet educational attainment rates are not keeping up with demand, and Iowa’s percentage of bachelor’s degrees is the lowest in the Midwest.

Duncan held a town hall meeting at D-MACC, and then spoke with reporters via a conference call.