Workforce development, career and technical education, and job readiness have become some of the most talked about issues as states kick off their 2014 legislative calendars. One reason these topics have become so popular is because many of our state governors have made them top legislative priorities for their administration. The most compelling evidence of this trend comes in the form of State of the State speeches delivered by chief executives.
The Education Commission of the States, an organization that tracks education policy at the state and federal level, currently shows that Career and Technical Education has been the most frequently referenced education policy topic mentioned in the State of the State addresses delivered so far in 2014.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, in response to the skilled workforce demands in his state, has proposed creating a statewide workforce council of business and industry leaders and expanding dual enrollment programs that permit students to get a high school education and earn a post-secondary credential at the same time.
“The statistics are sobering. The facts are indisputable, ” said Gov. Bentley. “Never ending cycles of a need for jobs, better job skills and better education, plague our communities, counties and state as they have for years.”
As we’ve mentioned a few weeks ago, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed tripling the funding for apprenticeships in 2014.
This week, Ohio Gov. John Kasich gave his State of the State address and outlined proposals to link at-risk students to educational pathways that lead to sustainable careers. This includes taking students out of the classroom and introducing them to on-the-job training. In addition, Gov. Kasich has proposed an initiative to bring educators, parents and students together with mentors in the business community who can help graduates transition into successful careers.
“We can show them why learning matters. We can teach them about workplace culture. It’s important. We can teach them about professional etiquette. We can help them appreciate how important values are to success and life,” said Gov. Kasich. “Values like hard work, discipline, and personal responsibility, all of which could help motivate and inspire our children to find their purpose and reach for the stars.”
South Dakota’s Gov. Dennis Daugaard has made career and technical education one of his administration’s highest education priorities. During his State of the State address in January, the governor devoted a significant amount of time to discussing the importance of addressing the state’s workforce needs with high-performing CTE programs.
“These programs give students experiences so they understand these aren’t “dirty jobs,” but opportunities to work with the latest technology hands-on.”
Gov. Daugaard is backing up these words by investing $5 million to fund grants to help create CTE partnerships between schools, award South Dakota technical institutes $1.5 million for scholarships in high demand career fields, and use state funds to buy down the cost of post-secondary credits at technical schools.
Governors from Utah, Illinois, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Kansas, Hawaii, Delaware, Connecticut and Alaska have also mentioned CTE in their annual speeches to the legislature. If you’re state hasn’t made career training a priority, sign up to receive email alerts from the blog and pass along stories like these to your state lawmakers.