This evening, President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech which included many promising aspects for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. The President spoke of the importance of ensuring that a high school diploma puts America’s young people on a path to a good job and spoke glowingly of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in New York which does just that. P-TECH works in partnership with New York Public Schools, the City University of New York and IBM to ensure their students graduate with both a high school diploma and an associates degree in computing or engineering. The President also spoke of equipping high school graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy by rewarding schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and create classes that focus on the skills employers are looking for to fill jobs now and in the future.
And in a night which saw bipartisan support for the benefits of CTE, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) also focused on issues important to NASDCTEc. In his role speaking for the Republicans to respond to President Obama, Senator Rubio spoke of incentivizing school districts to offer more vocational and career training and building an education system that gives people the skills today’s jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow’s world will require.
With each party focusing on the importance of CTE and the role it will play in our future, there are positive signs that this renewed focus will result in a welcome prioritization for CTE issues, which can only be a good thing with reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education Act not far away. We are hopeful that the priorities laid out in the State of the Union will be reflected in the President’s budget proposal, due out next month, as well as Congressional support for Perkins reauthorization. NASDCTEc will be carefully monitoring the flurry of Congressional and Administration proposals likely to come from tonight’s speeches.
David Beckett, Advocacy Manager