Proos’ CTE initiative unanimously approved

LANSING—Sen. John Proos’ legislation to connect unfilled jobs with classroom education and training opportunities has been unanimously approved by the Legislature and is on its way to the governor’s desk. 

Senate Bill 66 allows for the sharing of information between school districts and businesses that have job needs as well as providing students and their parents with information on what career and technical education (CTE) opportunities are available to them.

“Thousands of jobs throughout the state and in Southwest Michigan remain unfilled because employers cannot find enough workers with the necessary skills,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Applied learning courses in coordination with public-private partnerships and necessary STEM education can help prepare all Michigan children for success and also meet the skilled workforce needs of a growing economy.”

Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly called for an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Michigan schools — objectives advocated by Proos. 

“This legislation will ensure that all Michigan schools will have access to important CTE information and options for how these programs can successfully be provided to students with the highest level of educational rigor,” Proos said.

SB 66 requires the Department of Education to provide CTE course information to school districts and to post information online about CTE best practices from around the state and country. 

“Some of the state’s best educational examples in culinary arts, agriscience, plastics and building trades, just to name a few, are found right here in Southwest Michigan!” said Proos. “I am proud that many of them will likely be featured on this website.”

The department would also post online a description of how CTE courses can be used to fulfill the graduation requirements; information on successful CTE programs operated by schools; and details on how schools can work with local businesses, public-private partnerships, trade organizations, universities and community colleges to provide quality CTE.

“I applaud this legislation led by Senator Proos. It’s a big leap in the right direction for economic development and manufacturing right here in Southwest Michigan and Michigan as a whole,” said Joe Sobieralski, director of the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance. “It’s a tool we can now utilize to help get our youth interested and aware of the quality, stable and good paying jobs here in Southwest Michigan that will ultimately, over time, lead to a stronger economy.”

SB 66 also strongly encourages schools to establish programs that award credit toward a college degree or an industry-recognized professional certificate giving students on-the-job training.

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Proos will be available later on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.