Inside the White House, Dylan Blackburn enjoyed interacting with career and technical leaders throughout the United States.
“Being at the White House gives you a feeling that you’re being a part of something bigger,” Blackburn said about advocating in the field.
The purpose of the event, “Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education,” was to recognize students and educators who exhibited dedication and leadership in Career and Technical Education (CTE). It also placed focused on celebrating the innovations occurring in the area.
“I was able to see just how important CTE is to so many people,” Blackburn said.
A recent graduate of Midway High School, Blackburn will attend Campbell University to study trust and wealth management. He plans to attend law school afterwards.
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the White House event, organized by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Career, Technical and Adult Education in partnership with Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the National Coordinating Council of Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSOs). and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium.
Blackburn was one of 16 students in the nation selected through an competitive application process. It was conducted by ACTE and NCC-CTSO.
“CTE programs like these are good for students, because they can learn new skills and find their passion, they’re good for businesses because they can tap into a pipeline of skilled talent, and they’re good for our country because these programs help us grow our economy, compete with other countries and unleash the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators,” Obama said during her keynote remarks, according to a news release from ACTE.
After the visit, Blackburn mentioned the big push by President Barack Obama’s Administration in the field. It’s something Blackburn said people will learn more about in upcoming years. It gives him hope about improving the economy and making students more prepared.
“They’re going to be more prepared with skills they are actually going to use to help them get a job and hold it,” he said.
For Blackburn, it was an honor to be around other CTE innovators throughout the United States. During the event, Blackburn interacted with business leaders, some of which included professionals representing Apple Inc., Microsoft and IBM. He believes CTE is a field people need to be aware of and mentioned how it’s changed over the years.
“It’s more about making the whole U.S. economy competitive on a global scale,” he said.
Everyone doesn’t go to college, but he believes those individuals can be successful in the CTE field.
“It’s life-long skills that you can learn now and it makes the whole U.S. economy more competitive,” he said.
Blackburn was one of two students involved with Future Business Leaders of America. The other was Danielle Friedlander of Florida. He also noted how he enjoyed June Atkinson, state superintendent for North Carolina, participate in panels related to CTE innovations.
“I was proud to hear from her about the steps North Carolina has taken,” Blackburn said. “North Carolina is widely recognized as one of the best states with CTE programs and innovations. That makes me really proud to be from North Carolina.”
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