During the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) Washington Fly-In, The AED Foundation hosted a successful luncheon featuring a keynote address from Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education.
Stump’s remarks focused on the importance of career and technical education (CTE). He stressed the need for industry engagement as every state decides how they will use federal funding through the Perkins Act, and provided valuable insight and a road map for how AED members can get involved in that process. Last year, AED helped lead the charge in Washington, D.C., that resulted in the passage of the Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which will modernize career and technical education programs to better address the skills gap and educate students for in-demand careers. The law requires each state to work closely with all stakeholders, including industry, to develop and submit detailed plans for how they intend to distribute the $1.3 billion of U.S. Department of Education funding that’s divided between states for CTE programs.
“We thank Assistant Secretary Stump for his informative remarks and leadership and look forward to working with him, along with state and local CTE directors and stakeholders, to continue working to address the skills gap that is keeping our economy from reaching its full potential,” said Jason Blake, executive vice president and COO of The AED Foundation.
During AED’s Washington Fly-In, a small AED Foundation delegation devoted time to meeting with key legislative offices on Capitol Hill to discuss the challenges the construction equipment industry faces, particularly as they relate to recruiting qualified diesel technicians. Delegation members included Brett Reasner, dean of transportation and natural resources technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology and an AED Foundation board member; Greg Downing, director of branch operations for Admar Construction Equipment & Supplies in Rochester, New York; and Monica Haught, human resources director for Vermeer Texas-Louisiana in Irving, Texas, along with Jason Blake and Marty McCormack from The AED Foundation.
The delegation had a busy day on Capitol Hill in meeting with staff from the congressional offices of U.S. Reps. Virginia Foxx, Robert “Bobby” Scott, Jim Langevin, and G.T. Thompson, along with aides for U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Tim Kaine. Notably, Reps. Jim Langevin and G.T. Thompson serve as co-chairs for the Congressional CTE Caucus, a bipartisan group of Representatives committed to supporting and promoting career and technical education.
“I had a very productive time at AED’s Washington Fly-In event,” said Greg Downing, a first time attendee, “learning more about workforce development, hearing from policymakers about the latest legislative updates and how they will impact the equipment industry, and participating in several CTE-focused Capitol Hill meetings. I look forward to getting more involved with workforce development issues at the regional and national level to ensure that policymakers hear directly from job creators about the challenges that we face.”
“Attending AED’s Washington Fly-In was a great way for me to gain a better understanding of the current legislative landscape,” Monica Haught added. “Also, most importantly, I was able to participate in several workforce-development-focused meetings with leading legislative offices to discuss the challenges the equipment industry faces. I encourage anyone who has not attended Fly-In to consider doing so in 2020, because it definitely makes a positive impact.”
For a third year, Wells Fargo Equipment Finance (WFEF) generously served as the sponsor for The AED Foundation Luncheon. WFEF’s strong financial support of The AED Foundation through their sponsorship of the luncheon and the fundraising Gala, along with their contribution to the Foundation’s Annual Campaign, helps the Foundation continue to deliver for the heavy equipment industry.
“The AED Foundation greatly appreciates the strong support that Wells Fargo Equipment Finance provides to ensure that we can continue hosting this event and delivering needed resources to AED’s membership and the construction equipment industry,” Blake added.
Keep an eye out for dates for AED’s 2020 Washington Fly-In. You don’t want to miss this great event.