Nice Things in Nashville During ACTE
The annual Association of Career and Technical Education Convention in November was well attended – up approximately 20 percent over the year prior – to 5,300 educators and exhibitors. SkillsUSA was represented in many areas of the conference, and we were particularly proud to see former SkillsUSA board member, Ed Melott, onstage as the new president of ACTE.
Staff reports that our trade show exhibit was like old home week with lots of people stopping by our booth during the two days and some people checking out the Skill Connect Assessments and the new Online PDP. I also understand seminars held by SkillsUSA were well received, and we had good meetings with the Association for Skilled and Technical Sciences (ASTS) and the T&I Division of ACTE.
The second general session during the convention featured Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, Brenda Dann-Messier and Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor, Jane Oates. Both spoke of the important role CTE plays in the growing economy and – as we already knew from previous conversations – the two are working together to find ways to expand education and training opportunities for both youth and adults. I also attended a special invitation session with the secretaries. During a short comment period, I asked both secretaries as they work on integration of academic instruction and CTE to remember the importance of integration of employability skills and the unique role of CTSOs in delivering those skills. I also reminded them of the importance of business and industry partnerships in CTE and the role of student organizations again. Jane Oates, who has known SkillsUSA for years, said to Brenda Dann-Messier: “You’d better be ready for a long line of red blazers at your door.”
And, I was invited to serve on an expert panel of four during a meeting with representatives of the Chicago Public Schools who are working on a retooling plan for CTE in Chicago. With me on the panel were Jim Stone, National Research Center for CTE, Bill Daggett from the International Center for Leadership in Education and Greg Betheil with the New York City Department of Education. Also attending the meeting was Special Assistant and Advisor to Secretary Duncan, Greg Darneider. (Remember, Secretary Duncan was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, so there’s a direct interest.) It was a lively discussion.