Senate HELP Committee Advances Education Secretary Nominee Cardona

Former Connecticut Commissioner of Education and public-school educator Dr. Miguel Cardona was before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on February 3, as President Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). DOE has responsibility for oversight and implementation of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, also known as trade or technical school, that provide students with the skills necessary to succeed in a wide range of public works careers.

Dr. Cardona received a mostly positive reception from the Committee across both parties, with Ranking Member Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) committing his support to the nomination at the end of the hearing and urging his Republican colleagues to do so as well. Dr. Cardona responded to questions on a variety of issues, including whether he supports federal policies to support CTE at the same level as traditional four-year degrees, the expansion of Pell Grant eligibility to CTE programs, and how to ensure guidance counselors provide information of CTE career pathways to students. Dr. Cardona stated his strong support for CTE programs in both K-12 and post-secondary education and agreed that more needs to be done to make sure students are aware of career pathways other than traditional four-year degrees and have access to CTE programs at an early age.

On February 11, the committee voted to advance Dr. Cardona’s nomination with bipartisan support in a 17-5 vote. Timing for a full floor vote is not yet known, but it appears likely Dr. Cardona will be confirmed shortly.

For any questions, please contact Government Affairs Associate Michael Altman at maltman@apwa.net. A recording of the hearing may be viewed here.