Niles education, manufacturing professionals tout successful program at Senate hearing

LANSING—Sen. John Proos, local business owners and school officials came together to tell the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday about the need to allow students to count more career and technical education (CTE) courses toward meeting the state’s high school graduation requirements.

“We all support a rigorous education that prepares our children for success, and Michigan’s high school graduation requirements were designed to make sure our children achieve at the highest levels,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “However, education is not one-size-fits-all. We must ensure that every Southwest Michigan student is given the opportunity to choose an educational path that best prepares them for a successful career — including the ability to fulfill the curriculum with career and technical education classes.”

In January, Proos introduced Senate Bill 66 to allow options for students to count additional CTE courses toward meeting the state’s high school graduation requirements.

“We need to encourage flexibility in our education system so that we can effectively prepare students for the changing workforce,” said Niles Community Schools Superintendent Richard Weigel. “It is this synergy between the work environment and the curriculum that will truly benefit these young people.”

Introduction of Proos’ bill comes as Gov. Rick Snyder in his State of the State address called for increased skilled trades training to help meet the workforce needs of manufacturers.

“Manufacturing is back in Michigan, and we need to be able to compete with states like Indiana and Kentucky,” said Matt Tyler, CEO of Vickers Engineering in Niles. “These are not ‘button-pusher’ jobs; these are careers in automation.”

Proos said, “We have made great progress in making Michigan more competitive for new jobs, including manufacturing jobs. I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues and our local leaders to ensure that all Michigan students are prepared for success and that we have the skilled workers that prospective employers need.”


Editor’s Note – A print-quality photo of Sen. Proos is available on the senator’s webpage at Click on “Photowire.”

Audio comments by Proos are also available on the webpage under “Podcasts.”