February is Career and Technical Education Month®. Being an advocate for career and technical education (CTE) and DECA is one of the most important things you can do to secure the future of CTE. Advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal. Advocacy requires an advocate – YOU to speak on its behalf. Policymakers love to hear from teachers, students and parents about the impact of CTE.
Most CTE programs receive funding at the federal level through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Educational Act. “Perkins” funds CTE for secondary education (middle & high school) and postsecondary (colleges, technical centers, etc.). By advocating for CTE you can ensure that these programs continue to get funded.
The are a variety of ways that you can advocate for CTE:
- Written and digital communication – emails, letters, social media, etc.
- Verbal communication – calls, virtual and in-person meetings
- Social media – Choose your favorite platforms. For tips, visit the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) social media advocacy resources
- Public forums – town halls, community events
- News media – media interviews, letters to the editor
- School opportunities – guest speakers, district/school newsletters
How to Advocate
Develop a Message
- Tell your DECA Story. Be sure to share how DECA and CTE have had an impact on your life.
Who Do You Advocate To?
- Local leaders – Superintendent, School Board Members, City/County Supervisor, Mayor, etc.
- State leaders – State Delegate, State Senator, Governor’s Office, Department of Education Officials, Education Committee members in General Assembly
- Federal leaders – Senators, House of Representatives, Department of Education
- ACTE Action Center tool that is a great resource to help you find your members of congress, begin to build relationships with policymakers and find the information you need to send e-mail messages.
- Know your officials at the federal, state and local level
- Identify yourself – you are a CTE student and their constituent
- Be prepared – know the impact of CTE on your school
- Be specific – what actions would you like the policymaker to take? Always be polite and offer constructive solutions, even in disagreement.
- Follow-up – send a thank you, leave or send a fact sheet or information about CTE and DECA
- Check out these helpful tips for virtual advocacy
DECA's Advocacy Campaign
Complete three school outreach activities, three public policymaker outreach activities and three community outreach activities during February and your chapter can earn recognition through DECA’s Advocacy Campaign! Make sure to read the Advocacy Campaign Guidelines and submit your project before March 1, 2023 to receive recognition.
Debbie Taylor is DECA's leadership specialist. In this role, she implements a comprehensive student leadership program for both the high school and college divisions. She is responsible for the Emerging Leader Series, student recognition programs and leads the DECA Inc. executive officer teams and elections.