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ND FCCLA National Vocational Education


President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Hughes Act into law on this day in 1917. This was the first national vocational education act, and it established state boards of vocational education be created in order to appropriate funds received by the federal government. The act came about partly in response to the pressures concerning the nation’s food supply as a result of the breakout of World War I. And although the act stresses the creation of agricultural curriculum in the nation’s schools, it also led to the creation of home economics programs.

Students in these home economics programs began forming home economics groups as early as the 1920's. The majority of these groups were independent entities and had no affiliation with other groups. Some of the groups were statewide, but did not have any contact with groups outside of their individual states. In 1943, the United States Office of Education joined with the American Home Economics Association in order to study these home economics groups. The committee in charge of the study found that a unified effort would strengthen these programs in the United States. In response to their findings, home economics leaders from twenty-nine states met in Chicago and discussed the creation of a single national home economics organization. A constitution for the Future Homemakers of America was drawn up in June of 1945. Within its first year of operation, the group became a “self-supporting, private, non-profit organization”. The club supported itself with the revenue collected by the membership dues of ten cents per year.

Future Homemakers of America changed its name to Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America in July of 1999, or FCCLA. The North Dakota Association of FCCLA is composed of students actively involved in high school or middle school family and consumer science programs throughout the state. The program holds a state-wide conference each spring in Bismarck, at which members may qualify to attend the national FCCLA conference held the following summer. With its agricultural heritage, North Dakota’s vocational education programs have always played a large role in the state’s education system, and the FCCLA allows students the opportunity to expand on their experiences outside of the classroom.





Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L Job