Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) addressed the 2015 K-12 STEM Symposium on Saturday, March 7, on the importance of generating interest and passion for the science and technology fields early on in children’s lives in order to properly equip the next generation for future workforce innovation and needs.
“To me personally, I grew up in a house where my dad was the owner of a small business, a welding company. What I saw was tremendous artistry by the welders and iron workers who worked at my dad’s business,” Sen. Kaine said (Twitter: @timkaine). “That created in me a real belief in STEM and technical education.”
Sen. Kaine said his focus while in the Senate has been on Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, which have been eliminated from all except for one high school in Virginia.
“You can do wonderful things in life with a technical degree,” he said. “I have been working on career and technical education [legislation]within the Senate with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Johnny Issacson (R-GA). The group is also working on programs to incentivize teachers and for the training of more STEM and CTE teachers.
“STEM matters deeply to the success of our country,” Sen. Kaine continued. “We aren’t producing nearly enough scientists or engineers. You have to start early.”
“What I think is so cool about STEM is that this is all about how we make new things and new opportunities,” Holton said. “I visit schools all over Virginia, and it’s fun for our generation to watch what you, your generation, are doing.”