Yesterday, employers visited Capitol Hill to explain how businesses and educators are working together to deliver innovative Career Technical Education (CTE). The Congressional staff briefing, Career and Technical Education: The Employer Perspective was sponsored by the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus with co-chairs Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and partners including the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Industry Workface Needs Coalition and Opportunity America.
While the employer panelists represented a range of sectors and included small (100 employers) to multinational ($12 billion in revenue), what they all agreed on was the importance of strong CTE programs and the need for employers to be directly involved in supporting those programs and students. That involvement can range from hosting tours for students to providing externships for teachers to building programs with high schools and community colleges.
Employers expressed the necessity of students obtaining both academic and technical skills, and nearly all of the companies represented got involved in CTE because they needed to be more proactive about building a qualified pipeline as the current system wasn’t serving them.
Kaine, Portman and Baldwin all stressed the importance of CTE and expanding access by investing in good programs and removing unnecessary barriers to access, a sentiment that was echoed by the Senate’s unanimously passed CTE Month resolution.
For those of us that couldn’t make the standing room only event, the briefing was broadcast live and CTE was celebrated from Capitol Hill to classrooms.
Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate