LEESBURG, Va. – A delegation of students and instructors from Louisiana met with their elected officials in Washington, D.C. last week to talk about how their career and technical education (CTE) programs have prepared them to be college- and career-ready.
The delegation who attended from Louisiana were students and instructors from Bossier Parish Community College:
- Ethan Hagan, Student, Bossier Parish Community College
- Sara Patterson, Student, Bossier Parish Community College
- Jim Boyter, Resource Coordinator, Bossier Parish Community College
- Rachel Basco, Assistant Professor, Bossier Parish Community College
The four-day SkillsUSA Washington Leadership Training Institute conference provided students an opportunity to grow in their professionalism, communication and leadership skills, which they apply during their visits to Congress. Delegations talked to elected officials or their staff members about their education paths and CTE training programs, the value of career and technical education and the benefits of their SkillsUSA participation. They explained how today’s workplace requires employees with career readiness skills, and that SkillsUSA develops these skills in students of all ages and backgrounds.
These BPCC students gained valuable experience that will benefit them in their college career as well as with their life goals.
“The Washington Leadership Training Institute was an amazing once in a lifetime experience that taught me a lot about not only SkillsUSA, but also CTE and our government, while, of course, teaching me communication & professionalism,” said BPCC student Ethan Hagan. “On top of that, winning the Statesman Award was more amazing than I could have imagined!”
Student Sara Patterson echoed her fellow classmate’s comments, “Going to DC for WLTI was an amazing experience that I gained invaluable leadership and public speaking skills while attending. It was also very rewarding to be able to go to our nation’s capital and advocate for career and technical education to help my school and fellow CTE students.”
The conference focused on advanced communications skills including development of a SkillsUSA Framework story to share during their visits with elected officials. This year’s conference included training for students and advisors on personal and workplace skills; a panel discussion about effective legislative visits with experts from the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate; a tour of Washington, D.C., monuments and museums; and a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
SkillsUSA is one of the nation’s largest individual membership organizations for career and technical students and its programs are integrated into the CTE curriculum. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 94 percent compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 86 percent. CTE also helps create a trained pipeline of future workers to support a strong American economy and global competitiveness.