By U. S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL2)
Enhancing Career and Technical Education (CTE) has been a primary focus of mine during my service in Congress. Why? Because it empowers young workers to find good-paying jobs, helps prepare youth for a smooth transition from school to career, and lifts up communities throughout Alabama – all at the same time.
Alabama is blessed with a strong network of community colleges, industries and facility partnerships that help provide hands-on training that prepare our students for in-demand jobs across the state and nation. Last week I visited Wallace Community College’s Sparks Campus in Eufaula to see the CTE programs they have to offer. I came away quite impressed by the students, faculty and administrators there. Like its sister campuses, Wallace in Eufaula is offering a broad course of study, with programs ranging from criminal justice to electrical technology and computer science. They are also connecting courses to students still in high school through dual enrollment, which saves money and puts those who take advantage a step ahead.
I was particularly impressed by how Wallace is leading the way in welding training with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. It even serves as a primary American Welding Society certified testing center. Right now there is a huge demand for welders, and those with proper training and certification can earn a very good living.
It’s no secret that the job market is still difficult in this economy. However, careers are out there for those with the right training and skills. Thankfully, the idea that every student needs a degree from a four year university to be successful is becoming a thing of the past. Recent studies and interviews with employers have shown that many companies are more interested in a candidate’s knowledge and skill set than where they went to school or what their major was. That’s why more and more people are opting for CTE programs, like those offered through Wallace Community College.
Alabama can be proud of the CTE offerings in our state, and I appreciate Alabama Community College System Chancellor Mark Heinrich and our local campus presidents for their constant efforts to have our schools on the cutting edge. In my role on the House Appropriations Committee, and specifically the subcommittee overseeing spending on education, I will continue to do everything I can to enhance Alabama’s Career and Technical Education through proper funding and policy improvements.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. She is currently serving her third term.