Career and Technical Educators Tell Congress More Support Is Needed
March 6, 2014
ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) concluded its annual National Policy Seminar event Wednesday, bringing the premiere three-day policy and advocacy event for the career and technical education (CTE) community to an end.
“It was inspiring to see so many CTE professionals come together to communicate how our nation’s career and technical education system is positively impacting issues such as student achievement, the skills gap and the economy at large” said ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson. “The knowledge and passion that our members displayed in advocating gives me confidence that we can make a difference in Congress and across the country. Increasing understanding about CTE means that more legislators will value and support it, and that’s a win for students.”
In one of the event’s highlights, ACTE presented Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mark Begich (D-AK) with its Policymaker of the Year Award for 2013. “These Senators have earned recognition and appreciation from ACTE’s 25,000 members due to their leadership and steadfast commitment to prepare America’s 21st century workforce,” Wilson continued.
"In my home state of Wisconsin, we have a long tradition of making strong investments in our schools because we understand that a quality education is at the foundation of building a strong path to the middle class," Baldwin said upon receiving the award. "That's why I have always worked to help build a strong path through career and technical education. Because everyone should have the opportunity to gain the skills they want and need to pursue their dreams."
Though Senator Begich was unable to attend the event in person, attendees were greeted by a video recording of his acceptance remarks.
“In my time in the Senate, I’ve worked hard to ensure Alaska’s student have access to high quality education in STEM and CTE,” Begich said. “Our global economy is changing, and we need to help our young people gain the resources and skills to be competitive in the 21st century workforce.
During the session, attendees also heard remarks from Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Congressman Glenn Thompson, both of whom expressed an appreciation for the value of CTE in connecting Americans with rewarding careers via secondary and postsecondary levels.
In addition, attendees enjoyed opening remarks from keynote speaker Catherine “Kiki” McLean, co-founder of the bipartisan citizens’ movement “No Labels,” on the need for greater cooperation between Democrats, Republicans and independents to restore a functional legislative environment in Washington. Later, members echoed this sentiment to their lawmakers as they garnered support for CTE policy priorities from both sides of the aisle.
The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18 percent, compared to the national average of 74.9 percent. ACTE advocates for policies and programs that connect students with relevant, real-world learning opportunities to prepare them for careers. For more information on CTE and its positive impacts for students, schools, communities and the country, visit www.acteonline.org.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE is 25,000 members strong, representing educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others involved in all levels of career and technical education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.