Updated, 3:17 p.m.:
Gov. Mike Pence is taking his message promoting career and technical education national.
Pence testified before a congressional committee on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning, presenting examples of what’s going on in Indiana to help all students succeed, whether they’re ultimately headed for college or career.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce heard from the governor as one of four speakers at a hearing titled “Expanding Opportunity in America’s Schools and Workplaces.”
“We want our high schools to work for all our kids regardless of where they want to start in life,” Pence said. “This is not about a ‘Plan A’ and a ‘Plan B’ – this is about two ‘Plan As’.”
The governor introduced the committee to his goal of a five-fold increase in the number of Hoosier high schoolers graduating with an industry-recognized credential by 2020. He said he thinks career and technical education should be a priority in every high school.
“For those students who are not bound for the traditional four-year college, we must still ensure that they can thrive in their future careers,” Pence said.
Pence touted recent growth of investment in career and vocational programs in Indiana schools, as well as the creation of both the Indiana Career Council and the Indiana Regional Works Councils – two groups that have laid out strategic plans to build school-community partnerships.
The governor’s examples served to reinforce a point he drove home toward the end of his testimony: education should be primarily a state and local function.
“To the extent that this Congress can give states more freedom, more flexibility to innovate, our children, our states and our people will be the beneficiaries,” Pence told committee members.
A critical goal of our edu system is to enable students to succeed in 21st century economy & ensure they are prepared for college/careers.
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) February 4, 2015
Both Pence and President Barack Obama have emphasized the connection between schools and the workforce in their respective annual budgets.
Pence has continued his call for additional funding for career and technical education at the K-12 level. Just yesterday, the president asked for $200 million for a new initiative he’s calling the “American Technical Training Fund,” a program that would expand opportunities for school-employer partnerships in higher education.
Along those same lines, Obama plans to visit Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis this Friday. He is slated to talk about “how to prepare Americans to earn higher wages and the importance of keeping good, high-paying jobs in America.”