Governor signs bill creating nation’s first STEM diploma certification opportunity

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos on Thursday joined Gov. Rick Snyder, area economic development leaders, local educators and students as the governor formally signed legislation to provide students with important career outlook information and reward students for taking extra science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.

“Both of these measures will help our students succeed by ensuring they can make the best decisions about their education and career,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Michigan is the first state in the nation to allow a STEM certification that rewards students who complete additional STEM classes. We are also now ensuring that every Michigan high school student receives valuable career information about where jobs currently exist and are they’re expected to be created.”

Senate Bill 343, now Public Act 242 of 2018, requires school districts and public school academies to provide students with the most recent available analysis of in-demand occupations for the economic forecast region in which the school or public school academy is located.

SB 344, now PA 241 of 2018, allows Michigan students to receive a STEM certification on their diploma or transcript as an incentive for taking additional courses in STEM subjects.

“We appreciate the leadership of Senator Proos to help promote the value to STEM education and help us meet the increasing demand for skilled workers,” said Cathy Knapp, Southwest Michigan First director and a certified economic developer. “Our economy continues to grow and create outstanding career opportunities, yet many of our job creators are having a hard time finding the highly skilled workers they need. These innovative solutions will help address that problem and better prepare our students for in-demand careers.”

Chris Machiniak, regional director of career and technical education (CTE) for the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency, said, “The high school graduation rate for Berrien County students in CTE programs is more than 94 percent. It is an example of the determination of our staff and students to achieve at a high level and meet the needs for today’s high-wage, high-skill and high-demand positions. Thanks to Senator Proos’ efforts, we now have additional tools to promote our students’ achievements and prepare them for successful careers.”

To earn the STEM certification, students need to complete at least six credits in mathematics, at least six credits in science, at least a half credit featuring significant coursework involving technology, and at least a half credit featuring significant coursework involving engineering.

“I want to thank Senator Proos for all his work to help career and technical education students succeed in school and in life,” said Parker Lyden, a CTE student at New Tech at Niles High School. “No one else offers this type of certification on our high school diploma. For those of us taking extra STEM classes, it will give us an advantage in landing a great job.”

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Photowire.