Promoting JROTC and CTE programs for youth

The 26th Legislative District has a rich military culture. You cannot drive into the district over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, or take the ferry over from Seattle, without seeing the vibrancy of harbors of ports, aircraft carriers docked at Naval Base Kitsap, or the omnipresence of the USS Turner Joy.

The military heritage isn’t just seen and felt from the water. Just walking around the district you’re likely to meet a current Navy man or a retired marine. On the other hand, you may also notice a young cadet of the South Kitsap High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) lending a helping hand in one of the local communities.

Gig Harbor’s Rep. Jesse Young has a deep-rooted passion for the military. “My hope for my own children is that they have the opportunity to participate in this amazing program and proudly wear a NJROTC uniform,” said Young. “This program is a model of excellence for our children to teach them the critically important skills of discipline and leadership that are must-haves for success. I will always do everything I can to ensure the financial vitality of this program.”

And Young has done just that.

Adequate funding to keep JROTC, and other career and technical education (CTE) programs, thriving is a reality faced throughout the nation. Washington state continues to work tirelessly to bring the much-needed funding to the public education system. Oftentimes, programs like JROTC, or other CTE programs, are tabled for what are seen as programs with higher importance.

Young thinks differently. CTE was a driving force for his professional success. Having the option of a different educational pathway, aside from the standard book learning, ensures all students are successful. CTE gives parents, teachers and students a choice.

Over the last several years, Young has worked with his colleagues across the aisle to find opportunities to achieve truly bipartisan solutions in education funding. He continues to work hard to find money for the South Kitsap High School NJROTC through the state’s capital budget. He also continues to fight for CTE dollars in the state’s operating budget, which has proven successful.

“We have to think creatively when it comes to fully funding our education system,” said Young. “It is extremely important to remember every child’s learning style is different. Continuing to fund just the status quo is hurting so many of our children. CTE places an emphasis on real world, real life skills. I will always be a champion to find, and maintain, funding that benefits each and every child in our schools.”