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ACTE Names Lee Leffingwell 2015 ACTE Champion of the Year


July 30, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, VA - The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and its Board of Directors announce the 2015 ACTE Champion of the Year, Lee Leffingwell, Mayor of the City of Austin, Texas. The ACTE Champion of the Year award recognizes individuals and entities from within or outside the Association, for the highest meritorious contributions to the improvement, promotion, development and progress of career and technical education (CTE).

As the mayor of Austin, Lee Leffingwell has championed a number of initiatives that promote community engagement and workplace preparedness for the city's students. "Our most valuable resource as a city is our young people," says Leffingwell. "If we can do more now to educate and engage our students in local government and civic life, the entire community will ultimately reap the reward."

Under Leffingwell's leadership, the City of Austin and Austin Independent School District (AISD) have partnered for AustinCorps, a civic education and leadership development program for AISD high school students. AustinCorps combines classroom curriculum on local government with a hands-on experience at City Hall, which provide students with vital experiential learning and career exploration opportunities. During the fall semester, students meet twice weekly with city policymakers and administrators to become familiar with city government and gain employability skills that they apply in  the spring during mentored internships with the city and in executing a community project.

Another initiative made possible by Leffingwell's commitment to CTE is the Fleet Services Department of the City of Austin's partnership with three AISD campuses to offer an Automotive Technology Partnership. The program has been designed to produce students who will be qualified to apply for temporary, part time and full time careers with a range of potential employers, including Fleet Services. Special emphasis has been placed on teaching students CTE and employability skills, including communication, job interviewing and resume building. In addition, Fleet Services arranges for guest speakers and technicians to provide instruction and to demonstrate industry skills for program students that they can apply in the classroom and on the job.

Furthermore, Leffingwell's dedication to CTE is demonstrated through Austin Parks and Recreation Department's work with Akins High School for its pilot Park Ranger Cadet program. This program connects CTE student with city employees who provide instruction on environmental issues, ecology and the roles of the department. Students participate in structured field trips and weekend activities to experience the responsibilities of the department firsthand, and after two years of coursework are offered paid internships during their senior year.

"Our CTE opportunities are a direct result of the tireless dedication of city employees, nonprofit organizations and community volunteers to make Austin a friendly atmosphere for hardworking students. The success of these programs in Austin is a testament to the commitment our residents have made to educate our young people," said Mayor Leffingwell. "I will continue to do my part to encourage innovative educational programs that drive our students to their full potential, and I am honored to accept this award."

The ACTE Excellence Awards promote excellence in CTE by recognizing individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the community, programs that exemplify the highest standards and organizations that have conducted activities to promote and expand CTE programs. Award winners will be honored for their contributions to CTE at the annual ACTE Awards Banquet during ACTE's CareerTech VISION 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee on November 19, 2014. CareerTech VISION is ACTE's signature event, with more than 3,500 attendees, career and CTE professionals from across the country and more than 200 workshops and sessions dedicated to improving the knowledge and capacity of CTE leaders.

For more information on the Excellence Awards and the Awards Banquet, visit https://www.acteonline.org/awards.

About ACTE 
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 represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.

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ACTE is committed to enhancing the job performance and satisfaction of its members; to increasing public awareness and appreciation for career and technical programs; and to assuring growth in local, state and federal funding for these programs by communicating and working with legislators and government leaders.



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