|U.S. official holds forum at Career Tech Center|
|Written by Editor|
|Friday, 20 January 2012 16:19|
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits Miami Valley Career Technical Center.
By CHRIS WITEOF
Record Herald Writer
MIAMI VALLEY - Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) rolled out the red carpet last week for Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education. He visited the school on Jan. 11 for a town hall meeting on education and the economy - the importantance of education, and how to make the jump from school to the work force. A panel comprised of local and national leaders joined Duncan.
This panel included Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary of vocational and adult education, Amy Leedy, the adult education supervisor of MVCTC, and Jason Murphy, HR manager of Caterpillar Logistics Services. MVCTC superintendent, Dr. John Boggess, led the discussion which covered many issues in the national debate on education.
Duncan opened by saying how much he enjoys meeting and talking with students and faculty across the nation.
“We try to get out of Washington every chance we get,” he joked.
He explained that he and his colleagues get a better view of the state of nationwide education through visits like this one.
Duncan said that we need to “educate ourselves into a better economy.” According to recent statistics, our country places 16th worldwide and there are around two million high paying jobs in the U.S. going unfilled. This void comes from a lack of available skilled laborers.
“There is a gap between what skills we’re teaching and what employers want,” he said.
The MVCTC is working with local companies to help get more students out of the classroom and into the workplace. Murphy, and other employers throughout the region, are meeting and working with students to develop not only new careers, but help their companies acquire workers with appropriate and up to date skills.
The panel applauded the work that MVCTC has been doing.
Messier said, “I chose to come here today to the MVCTC because you’re doing something.”
Experimental education, early college credit, and on the job training are some of the incentives for students. Duncan acknowledged the importance of MVCTC and similar facilities because education is not “one size fits all.”
The discussion also covered challenges facing folks pursuing higher education. Duncan brought up the necessity of making financial aid forms simpler to help provide access for “people who don’t have the means.” He praised colleges throughout the U.S. that are holding down tuition.
He believes that the government has helped the situation by making Pell grants more available and decreasing the pressure of loan repayment. He acknowledged that this has helped with the front and tail ends of college education, but urges that some work remains to be done to aid students currently attending school.
Megan Rahaim, 18, a senior from Tipp City, was one of the students in attendance. She is pursuing a career in computer engineering at MVCTC.
“I like it,” she said. “I get a lot of hands-on experience.”
Rahaim and her peers study to acquire skills that will set her apart from other high school graduates. She thinks that this type of education will help fulfill the nation’s need for skilled workers by focusing on practical and specific abilities as opposed to a more traditional and general high school curriculum.
Rahaim is considering attending the University of Dayton in the fall to study computer engineering.
To view the discussion forum, visit http://www.mvctc.com/home .
|Last Updated on Friday, 20 January 2012 16:56|