Rep. Budd tours CATS program, discusses education with Iredell leaders
here’s money to be made in vocational training and where this leads. So I’m very proud of the students here, very proud of the teachers and that Iredell County is recognizing that.
Local government and education officials met with U.S. Rep. Ted Budd at the Career Academy and Technical School in Troutman on Thursday to share their experiences and views on education and economic development with the congressman.
CATS Principal Larry Rogers told guests that lunch was prepared by ProStart teacher Linda Marshall’s culinary students, who are only four days into the school year.
Budd, who toured the classrooms earlier, said he was impressed, adding that the CATS facility is “incredibly professional.”
Next, he explained that lawmakers, as a whole, must think about what the future looks like and about wether they can legislate for what the next generation needs.
“When I see this, not everyone needs a four-year (college) education,” Budd said.
Students need to be provided with pathways that will help them down the road and “there’s opportunities out there,” he said.
“There’s money to be made in vocational training and where this leads. So I’m very proud of the students here, very proud of the teachers and that Iredell County is recognizing that,” Budd said.
“This is built for the next economy,” he added.
The biggest successes of CATS, said Register of Deeds Ron Wyatt, have been being recognized as the No. 1 auto-tech program in the nation and the No. 1 in culinary program in the state.
Those are just two of the many program options that allow students to experience the real-world work environment while still in high school. A majority of the classes are taught by Mitchell Community College instructors and are provided at no cost to the students.
The taxpayers of Iredell County should be proud that we are providing value for the community’s investment in education, Superintendent Brady Johnson said.
“If you do it right, your community can get a return on that investment. The quality of life for every citizen will improve,” Johnson explained.
Iredell County Commission Chairman James Mallory shared that one of the challenges the county faces when trying to align education and the workforce is the school calendar.
This is because the community colleges and the school district operate on different academic calendars.
Mallory didn’t go into specifics, but said “it’s mostly a state issue.” He added that it’s more complicated than it seems because funding is attached to mandates from the federal government.
He asked for Rep. Budd’s help in “unshackling” the problems in the education system, as school officials have noted in previous conversations that the skills students need will determine what kind of economy the county will have in the future.