Proos sponsors high school curriculum reform

LANSING—Sen. John Proos has sponsored legislation in the Michigan Senate to allow options for students to count additional career and technical education (CTE) courses toward meeting the state’s high school graduation requirements.

“I support a rigorous education that prepares our children for success in college and beyond, but we must also acknowledge that college may not be for everyone,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This is about ensuring our schools are about getting students ready for a career, not just ready for college.”

Senate Bill 66 would revise the state’s high school graduation requirements to allow seven credits to be filled either through the current route or through CTE courses, which would include work-based learning by a student like an internship or apprenticeship.

“As the current workforce ages and retires, Southwest Michigan manufacturers are finding it increasingly difficult to find young people with the technical skills needed for these jobs,” said Corey Carolla, Director of Business & Industry at Michigan Works! of Benton Harbor. “Allowing more vocational and career courses as part of a path to a high school diploma will help us meet the needs of job providers and students.”

Proos said: “Every Southwest Michigan student should have the ability to sit down with their parents and teachers and choose the educational path that best matches their skills, meets their goals and prepares them for a successful career.

“Education is not a one-size-fits-all business. Each child is different, and I am introducing this reform to give our students more choices and flexibility and allow them to prepare for the jobs that exist in our state.”

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.

“I applaud the governor for encouraging schools to educate students for the jobs that are available in Southwest Michigan,” Proos said. “I have long been a strong supporter of career and technical education programs because they offer another path to a good career – one that is valuable, rewarding and important to our region.

“We have achieved much to make Michigan more competitive for new jobs, including manufacturing jobs. Allowing students to take more CTE courses in high school can help foster a future career and also ensure we have the skilled workers that prospective employers need.”

SB 66 was turned in on Wednesday and will be formally introduced in the Michigan Senate and referred to a committee on the next session day, which is Jan. 23.


Editor’s Note—Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at: Click on Podcasts.