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Advancing Our Mission: Recap of COE’s Washington, D.C. Meetings and Strategic Discussions

June 10, 2024

The Council on Occupational Education (COE) recently hosted our Summer meetings in Washington, DC. This format was a first for our combined June Commission meeting and various committee meetings, including the Nominations Committee, Standards and Conditions Committee, and Policy and Rules Committee. This gathering marked an essential step in advancing our mission and strengthening our strategic initiatives.

The Council Committee members used the meeting time to review critical changes to Policy, Rules, Standards and Conditions based on updates to federal regulations. There were also discussions of emerging member ideas and areas to strengthen our approach to accreditation. The work will require the committees to host a few virtual follow-up meetings in order to be prepared for any changes that will be presented at the November Annual Meeting.

The members in attendance also had additional professional development content outside the committee meetings. An insightful presentation was provided by guest speaker Luis Maldonado, Vice President for Government Relations at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In keeping with the Washington, DC setting, Maldonado emphasized the importance of collaboration and strategic resource-building in navigating the complex landscape of higher education policy and advocacy. He underscored the need to educate policymakers about the benefits of career technical education, build robust relationships in DC, and develop a public policy agenda to enhance our chances of success.

In addition to Maldonado, we had the privilege of hearing from Emmanual A. Guillory, Senior Director of the Division of Government Relations at the American Council on Education, and Mary Christina Riley, Professional Staff for U.S. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, Chairperson of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. They provided valuable insights into the legislative landscape and what we might expect in future higher education policymaking. Ken Ingram from Whiteford Law also contributed to the discussions, offering his expertise on legal considerations in accreditation.

During our meetings, we reviewed and approved COE’s five-year strategic plan and discussed the forthcoming DOE Recognition Review. This was a crucial opportunity to align our goals and ensure we are on track to meet our long-term objectives.

While visiting the nation’s capital, some of our Commissioners and staff had the opportunity to tour iconic landmarks such as The White House, Capitol Hill, and one of our accredited institutions, The White House Communications Agency. These visits not only provided a deeper understanding of our nation’s capital but also reinforced the importance of our mission in the broader context of national policy and governance.

In conclusion, the trip to Washington, DC, was a resounding success. It provided us with valuable insights, strengthened our strategic direction, and reinforced the importance of our advocacy efforts. We look forward to continuing our work and building on the momentum gained from this trip to advance the cause of career and technical education.