Mary Hoffmann, Ag. teacher from Sleepy Eye, attended the Association for Career and Technical Education's (ACTE) National Policy Seminar (NPS) March 4-6 in Arlington, Va. and met with members of Congress on Capitol Hill to educate them about the value of career and technical education (CTE). Career and technical education (CTE) delivers real-world training and skills development to over 94 percent of America's high schools.
Now, more than ever, the nation is turning to CTE to prepare the skilled workforce needed to keep America competitive and grow our economy. With CTE programs expanding and changing across the country to meet the needs of employers, students and communities, educators and administrators are challenged to effectively advocate for resources and support on local, state and federal levels.
While attending ACTE's three-day briefing on federal policies, Ms. Hoffmann consulted with the staff of Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressmen Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and John Kline, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to encourage more support for CTE and other education and workforce development programs.
Each of the staff members Hoffmann met with and talked to understood the importance of Career and Technical Education, the need for reauthorization of the Carl Perkins Act (which helps to fund CTE from the federal level), and the need for hands-on practical applications in the classroom.
Hoffmann stated, "It was a really great experience to attend the National Policy Seminar and advocate for CTE and agricultural education in Washington D.C."
At the opening session of the NPS, attendees heard from Dr. Anthony Carnevale, director and research professor of the Georgetown University Center of Education and the Workforce, who spoke on his research findings in career outcomes for students engaging in CTE programs of study in secondary and postsecondary settings. "Nearly 30 percent of associate degree holders make more than those with bachelor's degrees. And 44 percent of graduates from four-year colleges have higher earnings that those with graduate degrees," said Carnevale on Monday morning.
Carnevale applauded the efforts of ACTE, noting that career tech programs were efficient and a proven approach that helps students gain real-world experience and provides skilled workers for the economy.
Other speakers at NPS included James R. Stone III, professor and director of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE), Mark Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation, and leaders from the Congressional House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Jane Oates, assistant secretary of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, delivered remarks during the closing general session and emphasized the importance of education that trains individuals in the skill areas needed by the workforce today and moving forward into the future. She stressed the importance of the partnerships between CTE and business and industry leaders to ensure economic vitality and strong job growth for the country.
Page 2 of 2 - Over 400 teachers and administrators attended the conference and participated in the Hill visits. The National Policy Seminar is an annual event that takes place in early spring as policymakers are beginning work on the federal budget and appropriations process, as well as reauthorizations such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Workforce Investment Act.