Weighing In on CTE Blueprint

“This administration believes that career and technical education is central to rebuilding our economy and securing a brighter future for our nation,” said Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education, at last week’s release of the Obama Administration’s blueprint for transforming career and technical education (CTE). “Our federal investment in CTE must be dramatically reshaped to fulfill its potential to prepare all students, regardless of their background or circumstances, for further education and cutting-edge careers,” she said.

The education and business community, as well as members of Congress, have been weighing in on the blueprint. Here is a sample of what they’re saying:

Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education: “If the nation is to prepare all students for college and a career, career and technical education must be an essential part of the education reform process and a key component of the nation’s education system. The Obama administration’s blueprint is an important step in that direction.”

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA): “Career and technical education plays a critical role in ensuring that students have the 21st century skills necessary to find jobs with salaries that support them and their families.  I want to commend Secretary Duncan for bringing attention to the need for more alignment, collaboration, accountability, and innovation, as well as the need for equity.”

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “I applaud the Administration for focusing on this issue and building on the successes of the career and technical education programs that help so many students get the skills they need to be successful in the workplace,” Senator Murray said. “The economic struggles we’ve faced as a nation have made clear that it is more important than ever that students have access to quality CTE programs. These vital programs give them the skills and credentials they need to meet the demands of 21st century careers.”

Stanley Litow, IBM’s vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs and president of the IBM International Foundation: “I want to applaud the Department and Secretary Duncan’s work. This blueprint will better prepare America’s youth for college and careers. We often talk of a jobs crisis, but when you look at the data we really have a skills crisis and we really need action.”

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA): “Career and Technical Education has the potential to create jobs that will keep Iowa’s young talent in the state and make American students more competitive in the global economy.  We should continue to focus on preparing students to secure good jobs and to help grow our economy.”

Congressman George Miller (D-CA): “I applaud Secretary Duncan for continuing to make career and technical education an important component of our educational system. Today’s global economy increasingly demands more high-skilled and better educated workers more than ever before.  For our students’ success and to rebuild our economy, our high schools and colleges must ensure that students learn the skills needed by American business and industries.”

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI): “I commend Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier for providing a starting point for the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. I wholeheartedly agree that CTE plays a central role in ensuring our students are both college- and career-ready. We cannot create the quality jobs our country needs unless we direct resources to support training programs that meet the needs of high-growth, high-demand and high-wage fields like biotechnology and information technology.”

Click here to read more about the CTE Blueprint.


  1. In Pinellas County Florida we have written a five year master plan to grow Academy offerings at every High School in the District, with small, but growing programs in the Middle Schools. The catalyst for the plan has been the Pinellas Education Foundation, Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies ( Fordpas.org ), Workforce Florida, the Pinellas School Board, and a host of community leaders.

  2. “Preparing kids for college, career and life has to be about more than sound bites. This blueprint offers multiple, innovative pathways to create jobs and a workforce for tomorrow, and would strengthen the Perkins Act, which has been a lifeline for job training opportunities. From my experience in New York City and what I’ve seen at such creative career preparatory schools as Chicago’s Austin Polytechnical Academy, career and technical education can be engaging and hugely successful.

    “The blueprint has the ingredients to promote innovation, provide transferable skills and prepare students for good jobs. Like other education reforms, we have to figure out how to scale up the successful programs so that as many students as possible can take advantage of these programs and move on to have successful careers.”

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