Some 400 local and regional educators gathered with business, higher-education and union leaders at a Career and Technical Education Summit at UFT headquarters on Feb. 3 to explore ways for schools to build high-quality CTE programs to meet the needs of the city’s future labor force.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew said that this is a “defining moment” for CTE and stressed the importance of partnering with industry and higher education to increase support for high-quality programs.
Participants in the daylong conference, titled Career Training for the Knowledge Economy, engaged in professional development workshops on key technical and policy issues and in discussion groups with representatives from health care, culinary arts, construction and other industry areas. Together they assessed the needs of the labor force on the local, state and national levels, and what schools need to do to meet those needs.
During a discussion of CTE policy, panel member Brenda Dann-Messier, the assistant secretary of education for vocational and adult education for the U.S. Department of Education, emphasized the need for congressional reauthorization of the Perkins Act, which provides national funding for CTE programs.
Kathryn Wylde, the president of the Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit organization of business leaders, spoke of city jobs going unfilled because of a lack of trained workers.
Sterling Roberson, the UFT vice president for CTE high schools, and Vanda Belusic-Vollor, the director of the city DOE Office of Postsecondary Readiness, opened the conference.
In addition to the UFT and the DOE, the event was sponsored by the Citywide CTE Advisory Council with support from the AFT, the Albert Shanker Institute and the Association for Career and Technical Education.