60 seconds with Matthew Gambill, GACTE
Matthew Gambill, GACTE
Title: Executive director, Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education (GACTE), http://www.gacte.org
Location: Kennesaw, Ga.
Experience: Seven years as executive director
Primary Focus: Founded in the 1920s, GACTE promotes vocational education throughout the state of Georgia
Modern: Matt, tell us a little about GACTE.
Gambill: We have about 2,700 members, most of whom are middle school and high school teachers who are involved in training students for careers in industries as diverse as the graphic arts to the automotive industry to agriculture. On behalf of the organization, I travel the state and meet with industry representatives as well as community organizations and local governments to stress the importance of technical education.
Modern: Why is technical education important?
Gambill: We want parents, officials and educators to realize that technical education is not a dirty word. In recent years, preparing students for careers has taken a back seat to preparing students for college. We think that advanced placement classes are great for college bound students. But not every student is going to go on to medical school. Consider this: There’s a 10.3% unemployment rate in Georgia, yet we have a huge demand for skilled labor that we are not able to fill. For those students who are not college-bound, we think it’s important for them to start thinking earlier about a career. We also think that students interested in medicine would benefit from a health tech class. We’re seeing a resurgence in technical education, so we think that message is breaking through and it’s exciting.
Modern: Does warehousing and distribution fit into your plans?
Gambill: I see a great opportunity to partner with your industry. I recently visited a materials handling program at a technical high school in Rock Hill, S.C. It was amazing. The deepening of the port in Savannah is going to create new opportunities for viable jobs in Georgia. Our plan is to have some of our educators meet with representatives from the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) and then get some programs up and running. When Modex (http://www.modexshow.com) returns in two years, we want to be able to show them some programs here in Atlanta.