In Oklahoma, just like in all other parts of our country, people want a job that gives them purpose, allows them to provide for their family, and creates a chance for a better life. We all have our own idea of what our American Dream looks like and having a job helps us accomplish that goal.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) gives students an education for skills-based careers like health sciences, IT, and manufacturing. A traditional 4-year university doesn’t work for all people or all skill sets. We should support and encourage all forms of schooling across the board because all education is career education. It isn’t limited to the skills learned at a university over four years.

It’s our responsibility in Congress to create an environment for entrepreneurs to create jobs in their communities and ensure workers have the opportunity to learn skills needed to take those jobs. One of the ways we do that is through funding for CTE.

In 2018, there were over 76,000 students in Oklahoma who were enrolled in a CTE program. Last Congress, I worked with my colleagues to help get H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act signed into law. This bill reauthorized the funding for CTE and made important reforms to the program that improve the experience for students. It gives states more flexibility when supporting CTE students in rural areas, increases transparency within the programs, encourages public input, and limits federal intervention.

As a small business owner who employs individuals with a Career and Technical Education, I understand firsthand how important CTE is to our communities. From plumbers to cosmetologists and welders to IT techs, CTE is helping people achieve their American Dream.

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Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) represents the second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached through, and at 811-A N York St., Muskogee, OK 74403, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701.