Yesterday, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing titled, “Helping Students Succeed by Strengthening the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.”
• Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
• Paul Tse, project manager, Shapiro & Duncan Inc.
• Jason Bates, manager, Toyota Bodine Aluminum Inc.
• Dr. Monty Sullivan, president, Louisiana Community and Technical College System
Throughout the hearing, the witnesses and members recounted personal examples of the value of local career and technical education programs. They explained how quality training benefits not only the students, but their community and the specific industry overall.
“Toyota’s direct and indirect employment needs in the U.S. are significant,” Bates said. “In fact, they are much like other large‐scale, engineering‐based and advanced manufacturing companies in the United States. Consequently, Toyota faces formidable challenges arising from our country’s skills gap.
“By ‘skills gap,’ I mean the mismatch between the demands of a rapidly changing workplace and the shortfalls in the academic preparations that young people have acquired in high school and college. For example, the job of a maintenance technician at Toyota Bodine is very different today than it was 15 years ago. In the past, a technician likely focused on just one craft, say electrical. Today, that technician is expected to perform multiple tasks such as electrical, fluid power and mechanical. In the 10 years my plant has been operational, we were never at 100 percent employment in this job category – that is until now, thanks to the collaborations we have with the local education system.”
The members of the committee echoed the witnesses’ concerns. In his opening statement, Rep. John Kline, chairman, R-Minn., said, “This is an important conversation to have now because an anemic economy has made good-paying jobs hard to come by... For young people entering this kind of job market, having the right skills and experience is essential. Career and technical education programs can provide these critical tools, and we have to ensure federal support for these programs is delivered in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
The Automotive Service Association is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and repair professionals. ASA serves an international membership base that includes numerous affiliate, state and chapter groups from both the mechanical and collision repair segments of the automotive service industry.
ASA advances professionalism and excellence in the automotive repair industry through education, representation and member services. To take advantage of the many benefits of membership in ASA, please visit www.ASAshop.org or call (817) 514-2900.
For additional information about ASA, including past media releases, go to www.ASAshop.org, or visit ASA’s legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com.