Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine kicked off a two-week tour of Virginia at the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce's Commonwealth Breakfast where he thanked the Chamber for its work to spur business growth and economic development in the region.
During the breakfast, Kaine heard from local business leaders about issues impacting the regional economy, before discussing ways to bring job creation and economic growth to Charlottesville, including his efforts in the Senate to pass a two-year budget agreement and strengthen the competitiveness of Virginia's workforce by expanding education and workforce development opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.
Following his visit to Charlottesville, Kaine traveled to Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) in Lynchburg to tour the AREVA Technology Center, a state-of-the-art facility that supports workforce development in Region 2000 and allows students to obtain a hands-on learning experience with the latest nuclear support technologies. During the tour, Kaine met with students and spoke about the importance of building skills that would prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century. Kaine, who chairs the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus along with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), also recounted memories of working in his father's welding shop - an experience that motivates his work today in the Senate to improve and strengthen access to CTE.
"I'm a real believer in career and technical education, which really focuses on workforce skills development," said Kaine. "My dad was an iron worker and welder...When I was in the middle of law school, I took a year off and went to Honduras and ran a vocational school that taught kids to be carpenters and welders. So I've been a big believer in workforce training for a long time."
Last week, Kaine led 24 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee urging increased support for career and technical education (CTE) through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act State Grant program.
"I recently started a career and technical education caucus with Senator Rob Portman, and we are organizing education programs for Senators who are looking at things like Perkins Act Reauthorization, and other things we can do to make CTE programs stronger," Kaine said. "I'm here to learn because the more I know about best practices and good examples, the better we'll do as caucus members in the Senate in trying to promote the right kind of policies. We want to do things that really enable our performers like CVCC."
On his final stop for the day, Kaine returned to Charlottesville to deliver the final guest lecture to Professor Larry Sabato's Introduction to American Politics class at the University of Virginia, which Sabato has taught for 35 years.
Tomorrow, Kaine will continue his two-week tour of the Commonwealth in Hampton, where he will visit the NASA Langley Research Center and learn about its newest research and technology development. Later in the week, Kaine will make additional stops in Richmond, Martinsville, Roanoke, and Bluefield.