ANNUAL REPORT of the American Vocational Association

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Fiscal Year 1998

Building Our Membership

As of the end of fiscal 98, there was an increase of 4.7 percent in membership over the previous year. This is due to 1 0 consecutive months of membership growth and increases in every AVA Region, 10 AVA Divisions and 32 states. AVA's success in membership expansion is the result of aggressive membership solicitation and retention campaigns such as: "Forward to Excellence 2000," "Member-Get-A-Member," the "Student Member Campaign" and grassroots efforts by AVA members.

During FY 1998, the first AVA chapter was organized in the state of Michigan. In addition, AVA now has service agreements with 10 states to handle all the membership processing as well as membership promotion for the state.

Federal Funds

Perkins Reauthorization--AVA continued its advocacy efforts this year on the reauthorization of the Perkins Act. After the successful passage of the House Perkins bill, which AVA supported efforts focused on the Senate where lawmakers intended to try again to combine vocational-technical education with job training programs. After months of wrangling, AVA was successful in advocating the separation of these programs into two separate bills. This paved the way for the completion of the legislation in October 1998. The final bill contains most of the AVA-advocated priorities that will help serve local vocational programs.

Higher Education Act, FY 1999 Funding--While continuing our efforts on the Perkins reauthorization, AVA also advocated for vocational-technical education's priorities in the Higher Education Act and the FY 1999 appropriations legislation. Through the former, AVA focused on teacher training, resulting in the availability of federal funds for training vocational-technical education teachers. In addition, a federal study was included in the final bill that will focus on the role of education in welfare reform. AVA also worked with other postsecondary education organizations on improvements to student aid programs and the seamless transition from secondary to postsecondary education. Regarding the latter, funding for vocational-technical education for FY 1999 includes a $3 million increase for basic state grants, a $3 million increase for tech prep and a $1 million increase for tribally controlled postsecondary institutions. The Pell Grant maximum will increase from $3,000 to $3,125. School-to-work programs will be funded at $250 million, down from $400 million, in keeping with the original intent to phase out federal funding for this program.

Enhancing Professional Development

Conventions and Meetings--In an effort to provide professional development opportunities for more segments of the membership, AVA held five pre-convention seminars in Las Vegas, two one-day seminars in Roanoke, Va., and Colorado Springs, Colo., and two workshops in Albuquerque, N.M., and Louisville, Ky., in FY 1998.

The 1997 convention and trade show in Las Vegas was the largest in AVA history, with more than 9,000 attendees and 320 exhibiting companies occupying over 620 booths.

The National Policy Seminar included notable speakers, including political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin, congressional leaders such as senators Jim Jeffords (R-Vt) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Representatives Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and John Peterson (R-Pa.), and U.S. Department of Education assistant secretaries Patricia McNeil and David Longanecker. Dorgan was presented AVA's Policymaker of the Year Award.

Business/Industry Support--During the 1998 AVA National Policy Seminar, the AVA School-to-Work Partners solidified their existence by approving a formal governance structure and bylaws for the group and adopting a new name--The American Business and Education Partnership, which more closely aligns the name with its tagline, "Rethinking the Way America Does Business with Education."

Six committees were formed to address each of the objectives in the partnership's strategic plan. …