On April 18, John McGlade, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Air Products and SkillsUSA’s CEO Champion of the Year, was the keynote speaker during the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education consortium (NASDCTEc) Joint Spring Meeting with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education in Washington, D.C. In attendance for the luncheon were Joe Pietrantonio, Lauri Gostley-Hackett, Diane Donaher and a representative from Air Products’ Washington, D.C. office. Two VIP tables were reserved for them during the luncheon and directors from the states where Air Products has a major presence were seated with them.
John’s remarks referenced his own connection to CTE. He frequently praised the work of SkillsUSA and Air Products’ partnership with SkillsUSA, and the importance of soft (“21st Century”) skills. His overall theme was that successful enterprises take advantage of changing times. John’s speech – and the presence of Air Products – was frequently referenced from that point during the three-day conference, including the presentations on the new brand initiative for CTE and both of the closing speeches by the outgoing and incoming presidents.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also spoke. His remarks were also quoted during the conference, but not happily. He confirmed not only that federal funding for CTE had been cut $140.2 million this year, but that the President’s budget would propose a cut to $1 billion in fiscal 2012, when funding has been at the $1.3 billion level for many years. Unfortunately, the federal cuts might also precipitate state CTE funding cuts as well. An advocacy campaign directed toward Congress is underway, and SkillsUSA and its partners are considered important parts of the coalition. There will be much more to come on all of this.
Also unveiled during the conference was a new brand for CTE. The slogan is “CTE: Learning the Works for America.” There are many nice features, talking points and some great statistics on the value of CTE. Items are to be available online in mid-May. They come along just in time for the advocacy campaign. SkillsUSA did serve on the select advisory committee for the brand initiative.