September 3, 2014

Congressional Leaders Tour Pike

Congressional Leaders Tour Pike

Indiana Congressional leaders joined United States Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Wednesday, in touring a local high school and work sites around Indianapolis.

The trip aimed at seeing how students are developing career skills and applying them for in-demand jobs.

Drops of red liquid, that look like blood, are splattered across a white sheet of paper in the back corner of a classroom at Pike High School on the city’s north side.

Peering through sets of clear goggles, a group of four students are doing their best CSI impersonation working on a forensic science project.

As they work, the group attracts an audience that includes U.S Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Senator Joe Donnelly, and Congressman Andre Carson.

Pike is one of 25 educational organizations picked by the U.S Department of Labor for a Youth Career grant.

The school received seven million dollars earlier this year to help boost its career academies. 

Secretary Perez believes Pike serves as a model for this type of education and calls it a pipeline for tomorrow’s work force.

"This place is a testament to the notion that every person in this state and every child in this country is gifted and talented," said Perez.  "If you figure out the right ways to draw out those gifts and talents, everybody gets to punch their ticket to the middle class and businesses in this area get to have access to that skilled workforce of tomorrow."

Donnelly says the students at Pike could easily fall through the cracks with 65 percent of students living in poverty, but 93 percent graduate.

And he says the success here proves the importance of investing in the country’s youth.

"We think every child is capable of incredible success," said Donnelly.  "That's what the superintendnet pursues, that's what the (Pike) principal pursues, all the teachers here and all the kids too.  They come here and they expect to be pushed.   They expect to be tested.  Every child is capable of incredible success and we just have to invest in them."

Perez, Donnelly and Carson also met with educators during a roundtable discussion at Pike on what resources students to obtain job skills and succeed in the workforce.

They also toured construction and manufacturing sites around the city and met with union leaders on what is needed for employee development and training.

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