ACTE Responds to President Trump’s Remarks in Ohio

March 29, 2018

Contact: Jarrod Nagurka

ACTE Responds to President Trump’s Remarks in Ohio

Alexandria, VA — Earlier today, President Trump spoke in Richfield, Ohio to discuss his infrastructure proposal. In his remarks, he repeatedly questioned community colleges, expressing support for “vocational education.” (Remarks at 37:12)

In response to the President’s remarks questioning community colleges, LeAnn Wilson, executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education® (ACTE®), said:

Millions of students and employers value community colleges and all they offer. Students earning industry-recognized credentials and two-year degrees at the nation’s community colleges increase their earning potential and gain the skills needed to fill high-demand careers. In the past, the term ‘vocational education’ was used to refer to a limited subset of professions. By contrast, today’s term, ‘career and technical education (CTE),’ is recognized by the federal government and in most states. Among other benefits, today’s CTE reflects the diverse program offerings encompassed in the nation’s CTE system, which touch virtually every sector of the American economy.”

In contrast with President Trump’s comments about community colleges and CTE, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has previously lavished praise on these programs.

  • “Community Colleges are a tremendous option and a tremendous on-ramp for many students…” – March 24, 2017 at Valencia College 
  • “Community colleges are a uniquely American institution and a proud national asset… Community colleges are the heartbeat of the education system… Community college graduates have skills that make for satisfied employers, booming industries, and healthy communities…” – July 27, 2017 at the Michigan Community College Association Summer Conference 
  • “I have had the privilege and opportunity to visit three different community colleges since I’ve been on this job, and all of them take a really unique approach in partnering with local businesses… I think the way we can best support [CTE] is to, in a very targeted manner, focus the dollars to help support community colleges in this pursuit…” – May 24, 2017 to the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee 

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has also made supportive comments about community colleges.

  • “A two-year program at a local community college is an important resource as well, and far more affordable.” – May 15, 2017 at the Chamber of Commerce Forum honoring 2017 Infrastructure Week 

ACTE has previously issued a detailed statement regarding other comments the President has made about community colleges and his use of the word “vocational education.”


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, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals 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.