At a Sept. 24 rally in Washington, D.C., more than 550 SkillsUSA students, teachers and state leaders from 29 states showed their support for SkillsUSA and career and technical education (CTE). The third annual “SkillsUSA Perkins POWERR CTE Rally” on the west front lawn of the U.S. Capitol celebrated the launch of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.
Joining SkillsUSA members for the rally were Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.). Both elected officials praised SkillsUSA students for their advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. After the rally, students made over 130 visits to congressional offices to ask for support for CTE funding in their home states.
Other speakers at the rally included SkillsUSA student officers Jay Clifton of Dallas and Makenna Eccles from Houston, as well as SkillsUSA executive director Tim Lawrence. Later in the day, state delegations visited Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
In advance of the congressional visits, students attended a legislative panel earlier in the week at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. The panel featured Sam Morgante, deputy chief of staff and legislative director for Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.); Kerry McKittrick, legislative assistant for Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Nick Rockwell, senior legislative assistant for Rep. Thompson. Panelists prepared the students to make effective visits and told them what to expect when they visited Capitol Hill.
The rally and congressional visits capped the Washington Leadership Training Institute, SkillsUSA’s four-day leadership conference for high school and college students. The annual conference offers advanced training for students and SkillsUSA chapter advisors on professionalism, communication and leadership skills.
For photos from the conference, go to: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/washington-leadership-training-institute/wlti-photos/.