U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine visited Northern Virginia Community College's (NOVA) Alexandria campus Monday to discuss the importance of career and technical education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs like SySTEMic Solutions, a program at NOVA that strives to equip students with the skills needed in today’s workforce.
“This is a good thing for students because they are acquiring skills that are in high demand among Northern Virginia employers right now,” said Kaine. “This is a program that will ultimately match up the skills of the workforce with what employers are looking for.”
Kaine spoke with students about the importance of building skills that would prepare them for the jobs available today, particularly in the growing industries of information technology (IT) and healthcare in Virginia. Administrators also asked Kaine about his efforts to bridge the gap between STEM education and CTE.
“I’m very interested in career and technical education because my dad was a welder and iron worker, and my brothers and I and my mom all worked in my dad’s business. I also learned the power of career and technical education when I took a year off in the middle of law school to work in Honduras and I ran a school and I taught kids to be welders and carpenters,” said Kaine.
“CTE is a big field that covers cyber security, welding, and certain kinds of applied research," Kaine noted. "I started the Career and Technical Education Caucus in the Senate with Rob Portman who’s a Republican Senator from Ohio so we can hold these programs up as having value.”
Kaine and Portman were recently joined by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to introduce a bipartisan resolution encouraging educators to promote career and technical education (CTE) as an option for students.