Advocating for CTE on Capitol Hill

Advocating for CTE on Capitol Hill
Posted on 04/11/2024

Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School District’s Assistant Director of Career and Technical Education, Jill Stewart-Kellar, and Northeast Metro Secondary Perkins Coordinator, Sarah Shanley, participated in a three-day advocacy event as part of over 400 career and technical education (CTE)  professionals and learners who gathered at the Association for Career and Technical Education’s (ACTE) 2024 National Policy Seminar from March 17–20 in Arlington, VA. 

During this collaborative and insightful event, Jill Stewart-Kellar and Sarah Shanley attended briefing sessions on the latest news in education policy. They met with policymakers on Capitol Hill to educate them about the value of  CTE for learners in Minnesota and the northeast Twin Cities Area. 

While attending the National Policy Seminar, Stewart-Kellar and Shanley visited the offices of Representative Tom Emmer, Representative Betty McCollum, Representative Ilhan Omar,  Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Senator Tina Smith to encourage strong and informed federal support for CTE and other education and workforce development programs.

“It’s important to share with Minnesota’s representation on Capitol Hill that career and technical education is providing opportunities for students to explore careers, gain industry certifications and college credit, and secure gainful employment that will allow doors to open and lift the weight of generational poverty as well as provide our communities and the nation the skilled workforce needed for us to thrive,” said Stewart-Kellar. “Northeast Metro 916 invites any of our local and national representatives to our Career and Technical Center anytime to see it firsthand.” 

On March 19, eight career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) participated in a reception hosted by the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus and the National  Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to celebrate the work of the national CTSOs and the efforts they have made in providing students opportunities to develop leadership and career skills and engage in community service through CTE. 

Attendees were joined by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), as well as  Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Assistant  Secretary Amy Lloyd from the Office of Career and Technical Adult Education (OCTAE) for mingling and remarks. Kaine, a co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus and a consistent leader on national education and workforce policy, addressed the audience to thank them for their service to America’s students and their commitment to developing a 21st-century workforce,  and Klobuchar, a member of the Senate CTE Caucus shared stories of her family’s experience with CTE as it relates to the legislation she and her colleagues have been working on. Thompson and Bonamici, co-chairs of the House CTE Caucus, discussed their work on the Caucus and collaboration on legislation and other projects to help strengthen CTE.

Attendees also heard remarks from a panel of congressional staff who provided their unique perspectives as those who work directly on the legislation impacting CTE leaders' daily work.

Over 94% of American secondary students benefit from CTE programs, with nearly 12 million participating across both secondary and postsecondary levels. To ensure a skilled workforce for the modern economy, it is imperative to continue robust support and investment in CTE and equip students with the hands-on training and skills they need for successful 21st-century careers. 

About ACTE: 

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to advancing education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators,  administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals, and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy,  public awareness, access to resources, professional development, and leadership opportunities.