NSC and Key Labor Partners Attend AFL-CIO and AFT Summit on Career and Technical Education

November 25, 2014

On November 13, the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) co-hosted a summit on the role of career and technical education (CTE) in preparing students for jobs in the 21st century economy. The CTE Workforce Development Summit featured remarks from Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. In their remarks, both spoke about the importance of CTE in preparing the next generation, as well as the importance of upskilling the existing workforce.

The Summit focused heavily on the importance of partnerships between business, labor and education. Featured panelists representing each sector spoke about their experiences collaborating on CTE, training and apprenticeship programs, and advocated bringing these proven practices to scale. The event also featured students who have benefitted from enrolling in high-quality CTE programs that have prepared them to move to postsecondary education and the workforce. The event also highlighted the importance of CTE as a component of a career pathway that stretches from secondary well into career, and can include incumbent worker training and retraining for workers who are already in the workforce.

National Skills Coalition is a big proponent of the sector-based workforce development efforts of many affiliated unions and labor-management partnerships. Some of NSC’s key labor partners that were in attendance at the Workforce/CTE Summit included: John Brauer (California Labor Fed.), Scott Paul (Alliance for American Manufacturing), Kathy Clayton (Indiana State AFL-CIO), Labor Institute for Training (LIFT), Cathy Metcalf (LIFT), Marie Downey (BEST Corp, Hospitality Training Center), and John Gaal (Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity). In addition to attending the Summit, John co-wrote an article in Benefit Magazine on joint apprenticeship and training committees (JATCs). Attention JATCs: It's Our Time to Shine suggests that JATCs should take advantage of the Obama administration’s new emphasis on apprenticeship training by working with schools and employers to emulate the Swiss model of career and technical resources.

National Skills Coalition, as always, wants to be helpful in encouraging future discussions about the role of the labor movement in workforce training, and in aligning those discussions with our efforts to mobilize small- and medium-sized employers who are likewise becoming more vocal proponents of sector partnership policies.