Obama Authorizes National CTE Scholars Program

Today, President Barack Obama signed an executive order recognizing U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education (CTE). The announcement came in response to a bipartisan letter from U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, Rob Portman and Tammy Baldwin urging the White House to expand the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program to commend the efforts of students who have chosen CTE pathways. Kaine, Portman and Baldwin, co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, are strong supporters of expanding CTE programs and recognizing the important role CTE has played in preparing students for a 21st century workforce.

“It’s important we send the message that CTE programs play a pivotal role in preparing students for the workforce and offer them a pathway to success,” said Kaine. “During my term as Governor, I recognized the potential of CTE students by developing nine Governor’s Career and Technical Academies in Virginia.  I applaud the President for celebrating achievements in CTE at the national level as part of the Presidential Scholars Program and I look forward to the contributions these students will make to our nation’s economy.”

“Career and Technical Education is a critical component to connecting students with open jobs,” said Portman. “In today’s competitive and dynamic job market, far too many Americans are finding that they lack the skills they need to get a good paying job, and I applaud the President for expanding the Presidential Scholars Program to recognize the success of CTE programs around the country.”

“Career and technical education provides promise for the unemployed or underemployed looking to improve their skills in order to obtain high-wage and high-skill jobs,” said Baldwin. “Our business communities have been clear on the need for a highly-trained workforce for in-demand fields and CTE provides the knowledge and skills that drive our Made in Wisconsin economy. I applaud President Obama for recognizing the critical link between helping students earn the necessary industry credentials and success in competitive workplace environments.”

The current U.S. Presidential Scholars program, which was created by President Lyndon B. Johnson by Executive Order in 1964, honors graduating high school seniors for academic excellence, artistic accomplishments, and civic contributions. Today’s executive order will expand the program to annually honor up to 20 high school students who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. The first group of U.S. Presidential Scholars in CTE will be nominated in spring 2016.


Additionally, read ACTE’s response here.

IBM, CTE, & Vet Care

See technical skills at work through cognitive computing.

A vet needs to be able to diagnose and treat more than 300 dog breeds—not to mention over 70 breeds of cats—representing more than 1,500 possible conditions. How can any vet be an expert in every single breed? Soon they will be able to use LifeLearn Sofie built with the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson to help identify treatment options. Read more here.

Aviation Coalition Shows Government How to Count

On June 4, a coalition of aviation trade associations took the first step towards solving the aviation maintenance workforce crisis by helping the government to define it. The group, spearheaded by the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC), asked the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Policy Committee and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to revise the SOC system to more accurately reflect the aviation maintenance industry.

Read more about the issue here and here.

New Construction Jobs Added

Construction firms added 17,000 jobs in May and 273,000 over 12 months, as the sector’s unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent, the lowest May rate since 2006, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the job gains come as the private and public sectors are increasing investments in construction services.

“Construction employers continue to expand headcount as they adjust to growing demand for their services in many parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Right now the two most likely obstacles to the industry’s continued expansion are growing labor shortages and political gridlock that could curtail public sector investments in infrastructure and construction.”

See more here and read about the Associated General Contractors of America Workforce Development Plan here.

Career Ready Act of 2015 introduced by Senators Portman, Kaine, and Baldwin

US. Senator’s Kaine, Portman, and Baldwin have introduced S. 478, the Career Ready Act of 2015.

The Career Ready Act would:

  • Encourage states to emphasize the importance of career readiness by reporting on the opportunities they offer, such as work-based learning and postsecondary credentials, to help ensure students can compete for good paying jobs
  • Help schools align career exploration course offerings and counseling to the workforce needs of the local community and coordinate with the requirements of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act
  • Allow states to utilize multiple indicators of career readiness when they report data to the federal government, such as attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials or academic and technical skills including industry-recognized certificates, certifications, licenses, and postsecondary degrees
  • Strengthen the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant program in current law by
    • Placing an emphasis on career guidance
    • Providing professional development to school counselors by training them to use labor market information that educates students on postsecondary opportunities.
    • Building partnerships with community groups such as local workforce investment boards, businesses, industries, and regional economic development agencies

CTE 101 — House Congressional Caucus Briefing — Feb 10 2015

The House Congressional Caucus Cochaired by Rep. GT Thompson and Rep. Langevin hold ongoing briefings.  Below is a listing

CTE 101 Briefing — Tuesday February 10

Panelists included:

  • Mitchell Coppes, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education
  • Kim Green: Executive Director, National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium
  • Eric Gearhart, Special Projects Consultant, SkillsUSA

Congressional Hearing March 2014

The House Education and Workforce held two field hearings in Nevada and Arizona on March 18th and 20th, respectively.

On Tuesday, March 18 at 2:00 p.m., Chairman Kline will join Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) in Nevada’s 3rd District for a field hearing entitled, “Reviving our Economy: How Career and Technical Education Can Strengthen the Workforce.” The hearing will take place at Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Coyote Ballroom, located at 7050 West Shelbourne Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On Thursday, March 20 at 9:00 a.m., Chairman Kline will join Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) in Arizona’s 5th District for a field hearing entitled, “Reviving our Economy: Supporting a 21st Century Workforce.” The hearing will take place at Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Student Union-Cooley Ballroom B, located at 7001 East Williams Field Road in Mesa, Arizona.

Link to further information about both hearings can be found here.

Senate Caucus Announced

On January 29, 2014, Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH) announced the formation of a Senate Caucus on Career and Technical Education.

The bipartisan Caucus “will focus on improving and strengthening access to career and technical education to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century.”

Senator Kaine’s press release can be found here

Senator Portman’s press release can be found here

The Senate Caucus extends the House Bipartisan CTE caucus which is chaired by Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and G.T. Thompson (R-PA).  Information on the House caucus can be found on Rep. Langevin and Rep. Thompson’s websites.

Congressional Hearing November 2013

On November 19, 2013, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a public hearing titled “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs:  Improving the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.”  In the hearing announcement, the Committee stated that the hearing would “provide members an opportunity to discuss proposals to strengthen CTE programs and help students gain the valuable credits and certifications needed to compete for in-demand jobs.”

Chairman Kline greets IBM’s Stan Litow and other witnesses prior to hearing









The witnesses and their testimony included:

The Honorable Brenda Dann-Messier

Mr. Stanley S. Litow

Dr. Blake Flanders

Dr. Bryan Albrecht

Video of the hearing is available here.

More can be found on the Committee website here.