Updated: Aug 1, 2019
LCDR Alex Baker was elected as the 2019-2020 GACTE President-Elect at the 2019 GACTE Conference. After a career of leadership positions in the United States Navy, nine years as a NJROTC instructor and five years as a member of the JROTC Division Board of Directors, first as Secretary and the last two as President as well as GACTE Vice President, JROTC Division, I have the leadership background and experience to lead GACTE. Through this experience, I have learned how to work closely with stakeholders in different areas, from legislators to administrators and other instructors to find new ways of improving student opportunities. I want to use my time as GACTE President to push toward the paradigm shift of Career and Technical Education classes being on equal footing with college preparation classes in our schools.
Career and Technical Education is the future of education. We must embrace the notion that not every student is destined to “Go to college” but at the same time, we must convince their parents and guardians that there are better opportunities and paths to success for their children that do not involve incurring a lifetime of student loan debt.
Every teacher, most especially CTAE teachers, should be ready to discuss the alternatives to college available to their children. Schools should present their CTAE Programs with the exact same level of emphasis as they present their academic requirements for college. Estimated cost for college should be presented alongside costs of CTAE programs. They should also present estimated earning power of career and technical jobs verse four-year college degrees, including the debt repayment.
We also need to show the value of the partnership CTAE high school programs have developed with the Technical College System and the business community. These partnerships have allowed thousands to gain technical skills for good paying jobs now while also laying the foundation for upward mobility in their fields in the future with two-year degrees.
In Grady County, the school system has made a major investment in its CTAE programs by building a new College and Career Academy building, completing a total renovation to its existing CTAE facilities, while upgrading every area with the latest equipment. There should be a similar investment by school systems across the state to upgrade their CTAE facilities to demonstrate to students and parents alike the value now being placed on career and technical education.
After having the opportunity to participate in the ACTE National Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C. the last two years, interacting with representatives from across the country, I have seen the growing emphasis and importance of Career and Technical Education. This growth, and Georgia’s leadership in that effort and its dedication to workforce development is what has inspired me to pursue the office of GACTE President. It would truly be a great honor and privilege to represent the more than 2,000 members of the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education.