National Officer DeShawn Blanding Attends White House CTSO Meeting

FFA was invited to be a part of another critical conversation with White House staff this week.

National FFA Southern Region Vice President DeShawn Blanding, National FFA Advisor Dr. Steve Brown and past national officer Zach Kinne made the case for career and technical education (CTE) Thursday during a National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations Leaders meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The hour-long meeting included time spent with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Other participants included members and professional representatives from DECA, Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, HOSA-Future Health Professionals, Business Professionals of America, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, SkillsUSA, and the Technology Student Association.

After a brief overview of CTE and the Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) in attendance, participants divided into groups to discuss ideas for student recruitment and engagement and challenges CTSOs and CTE face. Topping the list of challenges? Teachers shortages.

The group also discussed the benefits of CTE, including growing strong leaders and connecting students to broader interests, as well as how CTE can prove a key asset to the new administration. DeShawn shared with Secretary DeVos that CTE produces leaders and that it is the foundation of FFA.

“We’re not just about education. We’re also teaching leadership skills,” Blanding said.