Techniques Magazine Techniques Magazine May 2011 : Page 44

Fea ture By N. Susan Emeagwali Educators Flock to NPS Amidst Concerns About Budget Cuts “ACTE IS WORKING VIGOROUSLY TO ENSURE tHAt tHE VOICE OF CAREER AND tECHNICAL EDUCAtORS IS NOt DROWNED OUt IN ThE LOUD POLITICAL DEBATES ONGOING ON CAPITOL hILL.” Hill as legislators work feverishly to cut federal spending, and amidst more threats to slash Perkins funding, career and technical education (CTE) profession-als from around the country converged on Washington, D.C., to attend the Associa-tion for Career and Technical Education’s National Policy Seminar (NPS), March 7–9. Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), and Jane Oates, assistant secretary of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), were keynote speakers. In addition, panels of congressional staffers and other experts provided CTE professionals with an over-view of federal programs and initiatives that relate to CTE and workforce develop-ment, and information about proposed funding cuts. A t A tIME OF INtENSE pOLItICkING ON Capitol job creation and workforce development. Also important is the strength in numbers as ACTE works to secure funding and effect change. “When you go back home, tell your colleagues that you are tired of carrying the burden alone; that if they don’t step up to the plate, there’ll be no more plate to step up to,” Bray said. OVaE Chief: Good Work Being Done, Challenges Remain There is a need now more than ever to raise students’ academic perfor-mance and provide them with the skills they need to succeed in the new economy, said Dann-Messier, assistant secretary of OVAE. The United States was once the leader in the world in the number of 25-to 34-year-olds with college degrees. But that standing has dropped significantly, she said. [Accord -ing to a 2010 report by the College Board, the U.S. is now 12th among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Develop-ment nations in the percentage of 25-to 34-year-olds with a college degree.] This is very worrying, Dann-Messier said, because the recession has highlighted that those without a college degree are most affected by a dour economy. She said the U.S. needs to create 8 million more college grads by 2020 in order to compete with other nations. Winning the future will require a shift in paradigm, one that includes the idea of lifelong learning. CTE has an important role to play in positively affecting outcomes such as Jan Bray: aCTE is Your Voice ACTE is working vigorously to ensure that the voice of career and techni-cal educators is not drowned out in the loud political debates ongoing on Capitol Hill—some of which will affect CTE, said ACTE’s Executive Director Jan Bray at the Opening General Session. The Association continues its outreach to key legislators to remind them of the value of CTE in helping to educate the nation’s youth, and prepare a skilled workforce. Everyone’s talking about job creation, Bray said, and the key is to help legislators connect the dots between CTE, 44 Techniques Ma Y 2011 www.acteonline.org

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