Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, is focused on promoting vocational work.
La Cocina VA is an organization aimed at generating workforce and economic development for minorities. It offers culinary job training and career certifications, workforce training skills and English instruction for Spanish speaking students. The organization teaches unemployed Latinos in Virginia about cooking and restaurant careers with certification through Northern Virginia Community College.
“It’s a win win because the work they do everyday in their 14 week program is to prepare meals that then get delivered everyday to low income families,” Kaine said in his TV interview.
Fairfax County has a large minority population. According to the Washington Post, the number of foreign-born residents increased from one-fifth to one-third of the population and 42 percent of Fairfax residents are Asian, Latino, or African American.
The current unemployment rate in Virginia is 4.7 percent. And in 2014, “The Hispanic–white unemployment rate gap is smallest in Virginia, where the Hispanic unemployment rate is 0.9 times the white rate, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Kaine added, “In the senate right now, there’s work going on the reauthorization of the No Children Left Behind – the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – and with colleagues, we are trying to put into that Act broader promotion of career and technical training.”
He and his colleagues also plan to examine a different bill called the Perkins Act, which funds career and technical training not just in K-12 schools, but also programs like La Cocina VA, union apprenticeship programs and programs at community colleges.
On Fox 5, Kaine added that there are so many jobs that need technical training, it’s important to expand opportunities and make sure all Virginians know about the opportunities.
On a personal note, Kaine said he helped run a vocational school in Honduras in 1981.