PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) –After starting his day in St. Louis, and then going to Springfield, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona ended his day in Peoria by holding a roundtable discussion at Woodruff Career and Technical Center.

The event was part of the secretary’s Back to School Bus Tour, which is themed “Raise the Bar Lead the World.”

Participants in the roundtable included trade employees and instructors as well as past and present Woodruff students. They were also joined by Illinois State Superintendent of Education Tony Sanders. The conversation centered around the impact of career technical education.

“What I see here at Woodruff is what I want to see across the country. The relationships, the connections, the students’ commitment, the engagement of students. Isn’t that what we want in all our schools?” Cardona said. “These students are also walking away with credentials, they’re walking away with a pathway to a career, a connection with a college, and mentors that are going to be with them all the way through.

“This is exactly what we talk about when we say raise the bar lead the world, creating career pathways for students,” he said.

Cardona said he wants students to graduate with options and wanted them to know they can make six figures without having six figures in debt.