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The AED Foundation Focuses on Member Engagement with State CTE Directors



Nearly one year ago, The AED Foundation embarked on an initiative to engage AED members with state career and technical education (CTE) directors to ensure the equipment distribution industry had a voice during the implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly known as Perkins V. Perkins is a federal education program that invests in secondary and postsecondary CTE programs in all 50 states. It will modernize CTE programs to address the skills gap and educate students for in-demand careers.

“Perkins funding is critical to ensuring that our network of colleges and high schools with accredited and recognized equipment technology programs can continue to provide students a high-quality education,” said Jason Blake, executive vice president and COO of The AED Foundation.

“Our goal is for AED members to get acquainted with their respective state CTE directors and to connect with them regularly to ensure that they are aware of the challenges the equipment distribution faces, particularly related to workforce development.”

Associated Equipment Distributors led the charge in Washington, D.C., for the passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which officially took effect on July 1, 2019.

Perkins V requires states to work closely with all stakeholders, including industry, to develop and submit detailed plans on how they intend to distribute the $1.3 billion of Department of Education funding divided between states for CTE programs. Each state needed to provide a local needs assessment and engage with the local business community throughout the process that culminated in submitting a comprehensive Perkins V plan to the U.S. Department of Education this spring.

Throughout the process, AED members provided critical feedback to state CTE directors in 49 states about the challenges they face, the skills gap, and the inability for many local schools to adequately prepare students for in-demand jobs in the equipment distribution industry. The AED Foundation believes it is critical to continue to maintain a meaningful dialogue with state CTE directors. The Foundation is hosting state CTE directors from California, Wyoming and Colorado to serve on a workforce development panel at AED’s Financial/HR Symposium in Napa, California, this November.

In addition to this events, the Foundation is looking to set up in-person or virtual meetings between state CTE directors and AED members.

The AED Foundation also plans to encourage the involvement of its network of colleges and high schools with accredited and recognized construction equipment technology programs in engaging with state CTE directors. 

AED Foundation Accreditation for college diesel-equipment technology programs is very rigorous; schools typically cannot achieve it without industry support. The AED Foundation’s template for accreditation is a “community-based, school-to-work” plan, where local dealers, colleges and industry stakeholders work together as a task force to meet mutual needs. The AED Foundation has 59 Accredited and Recognized college and high school programs.   

The AED Foundation looks forward to maintaining a dialogue with Scott Stump, assistant secretary for career, technical and adult education at the U.S. Department of Education, and his office about best practices for maintaining industry engagement with state CTE directors. Stump served as the keynote speaker during the Foundation Luncheon at AED’s Washington Fly-In last year, where he discussed the Perkins V stakeholder engagement process and the critical need for the industry to provide input.

If you would like more information about Perkins V, know of an event that you would like to invite a state CTE director to, or would like more information about how to engage with your state CTE director effectively, please contact Marty McCormack. McCormack is The AED Foundation’s associate director of development and workforce and can be reached at mmccormack@aednet.org and 630-642-9108.

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