Washington State has one of the most open legislatures in the country. There are plenty of opportunities for an advocate to testify before Senate and House committees even if they are unable to attend public hearings. Advocates can contact their legislator by writing a letter, sending an e-mail, calling the legislator’s Olympia office, or by calling the Legislative Hotline.
Monique Valenzuela, Executive Director of the Youth Marine Foundation, shares her written testimony to Representative Alex Ybarra in support of HB 2128 to establish new reporting requirements for the delivery and improvement of career and technical education.
To: Representative Alex Ybarra | Member, Education Committee
I am writing in support of HB 2128: Establishing new reporting requirements for the delivery and improvement of career and technical education. I attended the Education Committee meeting Monday, February 3, to share my support in person, but was not able to due to committee schedules.
I am the Executive Director of the Youth Marine Foundation, an independent non-profit that provides hands-on maritime programs for South Sound youth year-round. Our programs teach maritime and marine trades skills to youth ages 14 – 21 years old on the water using our three large vessels and small fleet. One of our vessels, Charles N. Curtis, has been providing these programs for over 95 continual years. In addition to career connected training, our programs provide character development in a safe and drug-free environment on a working waterfront. We delivered a copy of our Annual Report to the Community to your office that I had prepared to share with you on Monday. We are honored to share with you the amazing success our teens have accomplished in our afterschool and weekend programs.
These programs provide youth the opportunity to navigate their future by providing career-connected programs. Many of our alumni are community leaders, service members, and employed full-time in maritime careers all over the world. We know that youth need access to different pathways – specifically career & technical education. We support extending similar career and technical education program opportunities to public school students. By providing working waterfront access and learning opportunities in the skilled-trades, our youth are provided a pathway they might not have been aware of. Many of these young people enter family-wage careers that are sustainable and unique to our maritime industry in the South Sound.
Please support HB 2128. By collecting comprehensive and meaningful data, we can begin to identify the gaps in students missing out on CTE opportunities. With relevant data, independent non-profits like the Youth Marine Foundation can collaborate to support STEM learning outside of four-walls. We want to effectively provide educational pathway options for all students in our state.
From the youth we serve and the many dedicated volunteers, thank you for your leadership and commitment to our youth.