Posts Tagged ‘Mike Rowe’

Perkins Reauthorization Top of Mind for House Reps After Hearing on CTE

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Earlier this morning, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education held a hearing on secondary CTE, kicking off renewed efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). A recording of the hearing is available here.

Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) in his opening remarks shared examples of CTE’s impact in his home district and charged his fellow committee members to complete its work to reauthorize the Perkins Act, which hasn’t been updated in more than ten years. He recognized the committee’s success in the previous session, during which the committee unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that later sailed through the House with a 405-5 vote. That bill was stalled in the Senate, and the Committee is expected to introduce a similar piece of legislation in the coming weeks.

In his opening statement, Ranking Member, Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) stated “ Reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act presents this Committee with an opportunity to ensure that CTE programs are of high quality, emphasize equity, align with academic and labor market demands, and provide opportunities for all students – especially those historically underserved – to receive credentials that lead to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career opportunities.”

Witnesses representing both workforce and education organizations praised the important role Career Technical Education (CTE) has played in increasing access to opportunity and closing the skills gap and urged the committee to renew support for CTE programs nationwide.

Mr. Glenn Johnson, representing multi-national manufacturing company BASF shared about the educational programs and supports his organization provides in various communities across the states, but expressed alarm about the growing skills gap and challenges recruiting individuals into the manufacturing sector. According to Mr. Johnson, 11,000 baby boomers turn 70 every day, contributing to the growing need to prepare the future workforce to fill critical jobs.

The conversation in the hearing then turned to two core issues: ensuring all students have access to high-quality CTE and addressing the public stigma that a four-year degree is superior to technical training.

To the former point, Mimi Lufkin of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity urged the committee to focus on underserved students in its reauthorization efforts, specifically to encourage students to pursue nontraditional fields. She shared examples from Douglas County, Oregon and Morgan County, Ohio where efforts to reach nontraditional students led more girls to enroll in a welding program and increased participation of boys in a health science course. Janet Goble, Board member of ACTE and CTE Director in Canyon County, UT, shared a story from her own school district, where a program aimed at introducing middle school girls to non-traditional occupations increased the participation rate of non-traditional high school students from 26 percent to 53 percent.

Finally, Mike Rowe, television personality of “Dirty Jobs” fame and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, argued that participation in CTE would stagnate without a concerted effort to address the stigma around vocational education. He argued that promotion of four-year postsecondary education programs comes at the expense of two-year, technical and apprenticeship opportunities that may better equip students with relevant skills and connect them to a high-wage job.

In the question period, which was well attended by committee members from both the subcommittee and full committee, many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle spoke to the need to change the image of CTE and applauded the witnesses’ inclusion of data in their testimony.

Today’s event comes at a critical point in time, when the Trump administration has signaled potentially dramatic cuts to domestic programs including education. If there is any takeaway from this morning’s hearing however, it is that CTE enjoys broad support, not only from members of Congress in both parties  but also the education and employer community as well.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Legislation, News
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Mike Rowe Promotes Skills Training in New Video

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Television star and skills training advocate, Mike Rowe, released a new short video to draw attention to the country’s shortage of qualified workers in some vital fields.

While attaining higher education is a positive goal for some, Rowe said there are options for high school graduates who aren’t college-bound. He stated that this focus on “college for all” exacerbates the skills gap and devalues jobs such as welding and plumbing that are critical and rewarding occupations. There are shortages in these areas, Rowe said, because we don’t encourage students to pursue them.

“We’re so focused on getting into the corner office, we forgot how to build a corner office,” he said.

Career Technical Education (CTE) offers students an opportunity to attain knowledge and skills required to succeed in the workforce or further education. Through career pathways, CTE students take rigorous coursework, often including work-based experiences and dual enrollment courses, and acquire valuable skills to help them succeed after high school whether or not they choose to pursue postsecondary education.

View Mike Rowe’s latest video here.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst 

By Kara in News, Resources
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Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe Testifies Before Senate Committee

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Mike Rowe is best known for touring the country to expose the most dangerous and disgusting, yet vital, jobs that American workers perform daily. On his Discovery Channel television show, Dirty Jobs, Rowe doubles as host and apprentice as he tries to take on the duties of various hands-on positions.

Rowe added “skills training advocate” to his list of jobs last week, as he testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

During his testimony, Rowe stated that, “In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a ‘good job’ into something that no longer looks like work.” He emphasized that the skills gap is widening and will only grow without increased training for workers. As droves of older workers retire, fewer skilled workers are prepared to fill the vacancies left behind.

Rowe’s testimony coincided with the release of a new multimedia initiative developed by Rowe and Discovery Communications. Discover Your Skills will help address the skills gap by providing employment and job skills resources for unemployed and underemployed individuals.

Click here to view the Senate hearing.

By Kara in News
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