Maloney, at podium, discusses his new legislation. Listening in, from left, are King, SUNY Orange President
Dr. Kristine Young and Romano
NEWBURGH – Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18) was joined Monday by Linda Romano, a career and technical education teacher in Newburgh Free Academy and winner of the 2018 National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year award, to announce new legislation that will offer support to CTE teachers across the country.
The Technical Educator Development Act and the Skilled Labor Education
Act promise to provide scholarship opportunities to those who want to
become educators in the field and will give the skills workers needed
to keep companies such as IBM afloat in the Hudson Valley.
“We want to support the growth of those businesses by making sure they have the type of trained workers to fill those jobs so they don’t have to go somewhere else,” said Maloney, “and we want to make sure the citizens of Newburgh, and the citizens of Poughkeepsie and of Port Jervis, and Middletown and or Orange and Dutchess and Putnam and Westchester County, who are looking for jobs, can find them.”
A major issue for companies is an aging workforce, which is why training high school students for career opportunities via technical education is vital, according to the Council of Industry’s Executive Vice President Harold King.
“The skills gap is a real and dramatic problem,” King said. “There are expected to be 3.4 million job openings in our sector in the next decade, but we have about 2.7 million who will retire in that time, so this legislation will provide resources to train kids and young adults in these great careers.”
King referred to the vast retirement of the Hudson Valley’s workforce as a “silver tsunami.”
Romano brought up how this legislation will elevate the importance of CTE teachers in the education field.
“Quite often, the educator in career education is not considered an academic teacher, so it’s not often given the importance as it should,” Romano said, “and by having a program such as this, the educator can beef up their skills in order to create a workforce that is dedicated and compassionate.”
Romano is only the second teacher from New York State in the field of CTE to be recognized as a Teacher of the Year on a national level since the award changed its name in 1980. She received the award in December.
“I look at this [award] as an opportunity to create and give back to something I love so much that started me off in a strong foundation,” she said. “I’m able to help my students meet their dreams and visions and help them come into the workforce.”
Romano went to Orange-Ulster BOCES to take classes as a junior and senior in high school in practical nursing, and stated that the program helped her find success despite struggling with academics. Since 2006, she has been a health science educator at NFA and founder of the nurse’s aide program, which prepares students for careers in healthcare. The program has seen enrollment skyrocket from 12 students to 214 students.