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CTE Is Hot Topic for Senate Auto Caucus

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July 25, 2014

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 CTE Is Hot Topic for Senate Auto Caucus

In a briefing on the workforce needs of the automotive industry, CTE programs and the Perkins Act took center stage as critical to ensuring a healthy, skilled workforce for the auto industry and advanced manufacturing. Hosted by the Senate Auto Caucus and its co-chairs, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sander Levin (D-MI), the briefing featured a panel of auto industry experts from Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda and the United Auto Workers.

Dispelling the misconception of good STEM jobs being only those at the engineer or doctorate level, the industry panelists utilized this forum to emphasize that the skills gap for STEM jobs is largest at the technician level. With technician-level STEM careers offering family-sustaining wages, federal policy should be designed to reduce the stigma on these education and career paths.

STEM is CTE Preview

Additionally, the panelists stressed the importance of strong partnerships between CTE programs and business and industry to ensure credentials and curriculum are aligned with industry standards.

Sen. Portman, who is also co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, gave brief remarks at the start of the briefing on his work to support education pathways outside of the traditional four-year university model. In doing so he touted the need for supporting rigorous CTE programs with links between secondary and postsecondary education, encouraging more students to enroll in CTE and eliminating the negative perceptions of skills education.  The Senator recently introduced CTE legislation with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, to support these goals.

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