The U.S. hasn’t always done a good job of exposing young people to career options early in order to draw them into fields the country needs, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said during a visit to Frederick County Friday.
Expanding programs like the ones Walsh saw during a tour of the Frederick County Career and Technology Center on a national scale could help ensure a steady flow of necessary jobs such as nurses and engineers, he said.
Friday’s visit was part of a tour of several sites in Frederick and Montgomery counties Walsh made with U.S. Rep. David Trone.
Walsh took a moment to promote President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, which Democratic leaders are working to pass through Congress. Walsh said the plan includes about $20 billion for training in programs like the ones they saw in Frederick Friday.
The visit to the Career and Technology Center also included Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Terry Alban, Board of Education member Brad Young and Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor, among others.
The school system was honored to have Walsh visit, Alban said, and she was glad he was able to see the connection between the public schools and the county’s labor force.
In a biomedical sciences class, Brunswick High School junior Jishnu Patel explained a process for testing DNA for the trait of high cholesterol. He did so as Walsh looked over his shoulder.
The students will have so many pathways for using the skills they’re learning at CTC, Walsh told the class.
Another stop was Philip Arnold’s Computer Aided Design class, where Arnold showed the visitors several student projects that included a human-operated submarine.
Students from the class were part of only four high schools nationally to compete in a submarine contest against some of the best engineering colleges in the country, said Arnold, the 2021 Washington Post Teacher of the Year.
“When I was in high school, I built a bird house. They built a submarine,” Arnold said.
The educator noted the country faces a wave of retirements among engineers. “We need more people in that pipeline,” he said.