Breana Arnold, Virginia SkillsUSA State vice president, and Stephen Earhart, Virginia SkillsUSA State Region IV vice president, and their advisor, Mrs. Julie Anderson, Cosmetology teacher and Pulaski SkillsUSA advisor, met with nine different Congressmen including Congressman Morgan Griffith and Senator Mark Warner during a training in Washington D.C. from Sept. 21-25. Congressional visits are a regular part of SkillsUSA’s Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI). The representatives also participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown and the Pentagon 9-11 Memorial.
Mrs. Anderson shared that one highlight during the training was to be able to experience the Senate in session. “We were in the Senate the day Senator Cruz from Texas began his 21-hour filibuster.” Stephen Earhart said he was especially “excited about being able to learn more about government and its importance in his own life.”
The five-day Washington Leadership Training Institute is sponsored each year by SkillsUSA to provide students an opportunity to learn about Washington and the democratic process. This year’s delegation discussed the value of their education; the value of public career and technical education to their respective states; the quality of their education and training; their occupational plans; and, the benefits of their participation in SkillsUSA. They explained that today’s workplace requires people with leadership, teamwork, and communication skills to participate in high-quality systems.
The Washington Leadership Training Institute is a “capstone” leadership and citizenship-training event to which students must apply for admission. WLTI concentrates on advanced communications skills, including working with the news media and the inner workings of government.
SkillsUSA is an integral part of public career and technical education (CTE) and CTE is Learning that Works for America. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18 percent compared to an average national freshman graduation rater of 74.9 percent. CTE is also about jobs – good middle-class jobs – that are essential for the American economy and global competitiveness. Experts project 47 million job openings in the decade ending 2018. One-third will require an associate’s degree or certificate and nearly all will require real-world skills that can be mastered through CTE.