Michigan diplomas could be first in U.S. with STEM certification

LANSING—Michigan students would get a leg up on earning a job in a high-skilled career or continuing their education under bills introduced on Wednesday.

Senate Bills 1109 and 1110 and House Bills 5904 and 5905 are sponsored by Sen. John Proos and Rep. Amanda Price.

The measures would allow a student to receive a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) certification on their high school diploma. The STEM endorsement would also be visible on student transcripts for future technical training, community college and college application review.

“This initiative is the next step in ensuring that we are doing all we can to help prepare all Michigan students for success and also meet the skilled workforce needs of a growing economy,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The governor recently signed my legislation to strongly encourage schools to establish programs that award credit toward a college degree or an industry-recognized professional certificate – giving students on-the-job training. Putting this certification on a student’s diploma and transcript will help improve their college resume and their chances to land a well-paying job.”

If the bills are enacted, Michigan would be the first state in the nation to institute such a STEM certification opportunity.  

“The Legislature has worked hard to ensure that our students can pursue their own career opportunities in high school and beyond, because we recognize that education is not one-size-fits-all,” said Price, R-Park Township. “By giving students the option to pursue this certification on their high school diplomas, we are helping them take the next step in their educational careers and encouraging them to pursue their own brighter futures.”

Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly called for an increased focus on STEM education in Michigan schools. Recently signed Public Act 288 of 2014 requires the Department of Education to post online information on how schools can work with local businesses, public-private partnerships, trade organizations, universities and community colleges to provide quality STEM education.

“Michigan business leaders and manufacturers are expanding and creating jobs, and they support increased efforts to help students earn the training needed to fill thousands of positions currently available throughout the state,” Proos said.

SBs 1109-1110 were introduced on Wednesday and referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration. HBs 5904-5905 have been turned in and will be officially introduced when the House returns to session in November.