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2009 Press Releases

Obama Talks Economy at CTE School, Community College Campus

SILVER SPRING — On President Obama’s first of his series of outreach visits to talk to everyday Americans about the economy and its impact on their lives, he delivered his remarks at Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC), which shares a campus with Lehigh Career and Technical Institute (LCTI) in Allentown, Pennsylvania last week. The President’s Dec. 4 stop to the joint campus placed CTE in the backdrop as he talked about economic recovery.

Obama touched on a range of short- and long-term strategies to revive the nation’s workforce and economic infrastructure. Among his primary strategies included education at the K-12 and postsecondary level, particularly at community colleges, which he called the nation’s “most under-appreciated asset.”

Kimberly Green, Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education, said she believes Obama’s speech at the Pennsylvania campus set the stage for further support of CTE at all education levels.

“President Obama’s remarks on education and his presence at the Pennsylvania community college and CTE school signals that he understands the link between CTE — secondary and postsecondary levels — and his economic recovery goals,” Green said. “CTE stands ready to partner with the Obama Administration as it crafts policies and investments to ensure that more Americans are prepared for the workforce.”

LCTI and LCCC collaborate with the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board to offer students a seamless pathway to career-focused, skill training programs in high-demand fields. LCTI is a secondary and post-secondary CTE school that offers state-of –the-art facilities and programs in 50 areas of skills study. LCCC offers more than 100 degrees and programs, ranging from medical assistant to kitchen and bath to hotel, and resort management.

Donald Snyder, LCCC President, said the collaboration strategies implemented in Lehigh Valley could serve as a national model for 21st century workforce development.

“Lehigh Valley was the first stop on the President’s national tour,” Snyder noted. “Our institutions have a partnership with K-12 school districts, strong career pathways programs, and are primary providers for workforce training for the region, which are all necessary to successfully create jobs for this new economy. This allows me to believe that the President used this community and this specific visit to demonstrate the need for additional support for community colleges and CTE.”

LCTI Executive Director Clyde Hornberger echoed notions that Obama’s stop at Lehigh Valley – where more than 30 percent of new Pennsylvania jobs are created — and the language of his speech affirmed the administration’s interest in a comprehensive workforce development strategy.
“His speech and his actions were a clear message that CTE and lifelong learning are vital to our economy,” Hornberger said.

Lee Burket, Director of Bureau of Career and Technical Education in Pennsylvania, which includes CTE in its economic strategies, said the state is appreciative of Obama’s interest in and support of CTE.

“Pennsylvania has aligned CTE reform to economic development by working collaboratively with labor and industry and community and economic development,” Burket said. “State CTE funds support those programs aligned to high-priority occupations, self-sustaining wages, adequate job openings and emerging high growth and wage occupations.”

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