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Senator Hassan Eagle Tribune Op-Ed: Summer Camp Can Broaden Opportunity for Students, Businesses

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, Senator Maggie Hassan wrote an op-ed for the Eagle Tribune this week, discussing her recent visit to Pinkerton Academy’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) summer camp in Derry and emphasizing the importance of strengthening career and technical education programs in New Hampshire to better meet the needs of students and businesses across the Granite State.

The Senator has visited businesses across the state highlighting the importance of CTE programs to New Hampshire’s people and economy, and as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, she recently voted to pass the bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act out of committee

See below for the op-ed or click here:

Summer Camp Can Broaden Opportunity for Students, Businesses

By Sen. Maggie Hassan

When we think of summer camp, we might not immediately think of computer programming, robotics and woodworking. But we should.

On a recent visit to Pinkerton Academy’s Career and Technical Education summer camp in Derry, I saw middle school students getting critical, hands-on experience – and having fun doing it. The students told me they were excited about what they were learning and what these skills could mean for their future careers and their ability to help others. I couldn’t agree more.

Career and technical education programs are an essential way to meet the needs of both our students and our businesses. When I visit businesses throughout New Hampshire, the No. 1 thing I hear is that they need more highly skilled workers to compete in the 21st century innovation economy.

I recently toured the Mas-Con construction site of the new Merrimack County Courthouse in Concord. Mas-Con, a Laconia-based commercial masonry and concrete foundations subcontractor, is partnering with Concord Regional Technical Center to give students an opportunity to learn key skills while also helping build important projects.

These are the types of efforts we need to expand and improve on in the Granite State and across the country. And I’ve been proud of the strong, bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate for expanding and modernizing career and technical education programs.

Last month the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which I am a member, took a bipartisan step forward when we voted to approve a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act – the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. It will help strengthen our workforce pipeline and prepare hardworking Granite-Staters for jobs in the innovation economy.

This bill helps advance the type of partnerships and initiatives we’ve seen across New Hampshire by requiring states and local programs to collaborate with the business community and workforce development organizations, ensuring that education programs will better meet the needs of our businesses.

I also worked to include provisions in this legislation that address the barriers that too many students face — helping ensure that traditionally underserved students, including students who experience disabilities, receive the support they need to succeed, such as career guidance and academic counseling.

Finally, this bill includes several provisions that will strengthen career pathways by providing students with a range of work-based learning opportunities such as internships and apprenticeships, incorporating rigorous academics into career and technical education courses, and making it easier for students to obtain a postsecondary-recognized credential. 

By taking these steps to increase access for students to engage directly with future employers in middle and high school, we can, among other things, bolster our efforts to reach New Hampshire’s 65 x 25 attainment goal of ensuring 65 percent of New Hampshire’s workforce has a postsecondary degree or credential by 2025 in order to meet workforce needs. 

Despite the divisiveness that often dominates the national news, I am encouraged that there is strong bipartisan support for this bill that will make important investments in our students, our businesses, and our economy. 

I will keep pushing to pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act and work with anyone and everyone who is serious about expanding economic opportunity for hard-working people and businesses.