Supporting Educational Initiatives

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the launch of Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success, a new Biden-Harris Administration initiative supported by the Departments of Commerce and Labor to increase and expand access to high-quality training programs to help young Americans pursue jobs in today’s in-demand fields, and be prepared for careers of the future.

Bridging the Gap Between Education and Workforce Programs

This new effort unites key agencies of the Biden-Harris Administration to strengthen the connection between K-12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce programs. With the support of the $120 billion dollars dedicated to K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Perkins funding, the Administration is ensuring the next generation is building the skills necessary to fill high-paying jobs like those created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and CHIPS and Science Act. This includes expanding access to skills-based learning and training pathways, like Registered Apprenticeships in key industries such as advanced manufacturing, automotive, and cybersecurity.

Investing in Work-Based Learning Opportunities

As part of today’s launch, the Department is announcing $5.6 million dollars in Perkins funding for a new program to expand work-based learning opportunities for students. The goal is to provide hands-on experiences that prepare students for the workforce while earning valuable skills and knowledge. This funding will support schools in developing and implementing work-based learning programs that align with the needs of industries and provide students with real-world experiences.

Guidance on Developing Career Pathway Programs

To further support the expansion of career pathway programs, including Registered Apprenticeships, the Department will issue new guidance on how federal funds can be used. This guidance will provide schools with information on how they can utilize the funds provided through the American Rescue Plan to develop and expand career pathway programs. By leveraging these funds, schools can create more opportunities for students to gain the skills and experiences needed for in-demand jobs.

Regional Summits for Collaboration and Learning

As part of the Raise the Bar initiative, the Department will host regional summits with students, educators, employers, and other stakeholders. These summits aim to facilitate collaboration and learning, allowing participants to share successful practices and address challenges in the implementation of career pathway programs. By bringing together a diverse range of perspectives, the Department hopes to create a more comprehensive and effective approach to supporting students in their career journeys.

The Importance of Career-Connected Learning

“It’s time we bridge the divide between our K-12 systems and our college, career, and industry preparation programs, which leave too many students behind and perpetuate inequities in our most diverse, underserved, and rural communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “An education system reimagined for the 21st century engages youth of all ages in the power of career-connected learning and provides every student with the opportunity to gain real-life work experience, earn college credits, and make progress towards an industry credential before they graduate high school. Today, the Biden-Harris team is raising the bar with new investments and resources to support intentional collaboration between schools, colleges, workforce development agencies and industry partners and build clearer pathways for students to rewarding careers and lifelong success.”

Showcasing Success Stories

In support of today’s launch, the First Lady Jill Biden, Secretary Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh will travel to northwest suburban Chicago, Illinois to meet with students enrolled in a career-connected learning program at Rolling Meadows High School. The Secretaries and the First Lady will also visit Aon’s Chicago facility hosted by the Chicago Apprenticeship Network to highlight the value of Registered Apprenticeship, particularly in non-traditional industries and corporate careers with a focus on underrepresented populations and communities in key sectors of technology, finance, insurance, and banking. The visits coincide with the first day of National Apprenticeship Week, marking the 85th Anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act.

Increased Funding for Career-Connected High Schools

This initiative builds on President Biden’s FY 2023 Budget proposal, which invests $200 million in Career-Connected High Schools and supports competitive grants to grow and build models of this bold vision. Funding would also support partnerships between local educational agencies, institutions of higher education—including community colleges—and employers, to encourage earning college credit while in high school through dual enrollment in core content and career and technical coursework; work-based learning opportunities; and academic and career counseling. President Biden’s FY 2023 Budget proposal also includes $1.4 billion for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. This includes an increase of $20 million for CTE state grants that would expand access to career-connected programs for more students.


The Raise the Bar initiative, supported by the Departments of Education, Commerce, and Labor, aims to provide young Americans with the necessary training and skills to pursue careers in in-demand fields. By strengthening the connection between K-12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce programs, the Biden-Harris Administration is working to ensure that students have access to high-quality training programs and are prepared for the jobs of the future. Through increased funding, new guidance, and regional summits, the Administration is committed to supporting the development of career pathway programs and expanding work-based learning opportunities for students. With these initiatives, the Biden-Harris team is raising the bar and building clearer pathways for students to achieve lifelong success in rewarding careers.