Thousands of Michigan jobs remain unfilled because employers cannot find enough skilled workers. To help meet this workforce need, Gov. Rick Snyder has called for an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in our schools.
I am strong supporter of STEM and career and technical education (CTE) because applied learning done in coordination with public-private partnerships and STEM education can help prepare children for success and also meet the workforce needs of a growing economy.
Recently, my bill to connect unfilled jobs with classroom education and training was unanimously approved and sent to the governor to be signed.
Senate Bill 66 allows for the sharing of information between schools and businesses with workforce needs and provides students and parents with information on CTE opportunities.
The Department of Education would be required to provide CTE course information to schools and post online about CTE best practices from around Michigan and the country.
The department will also post online details on how CTE courses can be used to fulfill the state’s high school graduation requirements; information on successful CTE programs; and information on how schools can work with local businesses, public-private partnerships, trade organizations, universities and community colleges to provide quality CTE.
Applied learning is most effective when students who complete the courses are job-ready. That is why the bill also urges schools to establish programs that award credit toward a college degree or a professional certificate – giving students on-the-job training.