TSA Chapters Attend CTE Caucus

Front Page Summary: 
Representative Brian Baird (D-WA), who helped launch the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, with TSA student presenters.



The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) in cooperation with the Congressional CTE (Career and Technical Education) Caucus exhibited a variety of “green” projects by Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) students from across the country at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC on September 9, 2008. Two TSA chapters, Franklin Middle School of Chantilly, VA and Turner Ashby High School of Bridgewater, VA., participated.

In April 2007, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) and Rep. Phil English (R-PA) launched the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. The mission statement of the Caucus is: “The Career and Technical Education Caucus is a bi-partisan group of Members of Congress created to enhance awareness in Congress of the importance of career and technical education in preparing a well-educated and skilled workforce in America.” The Caucus will serve as a promotion vehicle for legislation, ideas, and information related to career and technical education.

With the nation’s energy demand increasing, fluctuating energy prices and a greater interest from the general public related to renewable energy options, the demand for skilled workers with knowledge of sustainability issues is reaching critical levels in a number of career pathways, from construction to business management. Career and technical education (CTE) provides an early introduction for students to learn career options, cutting edge training necessary to ensure future employment to meet workforce pipeline needs, and state-of-the-art “green” building techniques that are energy sustainable, cost-effective and valuable learning environments.

Students from DECA, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, The National FFA organization, SkillsUSA and the Technology Student Association, presented a variety of projects ranging from biodiesel fuel and hydrogen on demand to making businesses “greener” and “green” marketing campaigns. Turner Ashby High School (VA) chapter advisor, Jerry Ridgeway said, “The thing that is most valuable is to actually have a group of congressmen on the Hill now focusing on Technology Education.”

“This is a great opportunity for students to demonstrate what they are learning about “green” issues and how this education can be applied to sustainable and renewable energy careers,” said ACTE Executive Director Janet Bray. “CTE is implementing new curriculum and integrating “green” into classes, academies and programs in order to assist business and industry in meeting their workforce demand.”

During the event, ACTE distributed a draft of the upcoming issue brief called, “CTE’s Role in Energy and Environmental Sustainability.” It discusses the increasing demand for energy sustainability and CTE’s role in helping prepare the workforce, and present examples of how schools have made their facilities more energy sustainable.

The project presented by Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater, VA., was “The Green School,” a design that won them first place at the Virginia State Conference and sixth place at the National TSA conference for Engineering Design. Ben Jones, Ben Rexrode and David Poole discussed their research and presented the elementary school model display. The design featured several “green” components such as recycled tires instead of mulch on playground. The parking lot was pervious pavement, a material that ensures reduced runoff. The school incorporated solar power through panels on roof, as well as a holding tank for rain water to be used in maintenance sinks and commodes. For more information on the project, please contact Mr. Jerry Ridgeway, TSA chapter advisor, at jridgeway@rockingham.k12.va.us.

Anurag Shyamala, Shruthi Shyamala, Swetha Pasala, and Elaine Lim from Franklin Middle School in Chantilly, VA, provided details on their project called, “The Green Machine,” which transforms algae into biofuel. Students monitored the amount of phosphorous in two local streams in Fairfax County, Virginia; one located in a natural habitat and one next to a housing development. The water in the stream located near the residential housing showed higher levels of phosphorus, identified as iron. Students built a magnetic bridge to extract the phosphorus from the water. Although the chapter had only a few days to prepare for the presentation, it was one of the most comprehensive displays at the Caucus. Bud Jacobs, Franklin Middle School TSA chapter advisor said “We know how to set up thorough and interesting displays because we do it for TSA competitions” For more information on this project, please contact Mr. Bud Jacobs, TSA Advisor, at Bud.Jacobs@fcps.edu.

About ACTE
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. It provides advocacy, public awareness and access to information, professional development and tools that enable members to be successful and effective leaders. Founded in 1926, ACTE has more than 29,000 members including teachers, counselors and administrators at the middle school, high school and postsecondary levels.