Michigan Diplomas Could be First in the Nation with STEM Certification

Proos CTEIf enacted, Michigan would be the first state to offer such a STEM certification opportunity.

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.

The governor recently signed my bill to 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 a STEM certification on a student’s diploma and transcript can help improve their college resume and their chances to land a well-paying job.

I recently celebrated the second-annual Manufacturing Day with local business leaders and students to recognize area manufacturers for their innovation and growth. They are expanding and creating jobs, and they support increased efforts to help students earn the training needed to fill thousands of positions currently available in Southwest Michigan.

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Michigan Diplomas Could be First in U.S. for STEM Certification

WNDU-TV

Proos CTELegislation sponsored by Sen. John Proos and Rep. Amanda Price would help give Michigan students a leg up on getting a job in a high-skilled career or continuing their education.

Senate Bills 1109 and 1110 and House Bills 5904 and 5905 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.”

According to Proos and Price, if the bills are enacted, Michigan would be the first state in the United States 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 — objectives advocated by Proos and Price.

Proos’ bill, now 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.

“I recently celebrated the second-annual Manufacturing Day with local business leaders and students to recognize area manufacturers for their innovation and growth,” Proos said. “They are expanding and creating jobs, and they support increased efforts to help students earn the training needed to fill thousands of positions currently available in Southwest Michigan.”

Last year, Proos sponsored Senate Resolution 90 declaring Oct. 4, 2013 as Michigan Manufacturers Day. This year’s Manufacturing Day event was held on Oct. 3 at Mach Mold in Benton Harbor and offered an opportunity for lawmakers to interact with area manufacturing leaders about the industry.

SBs 1109 and 1110 and HBs 5904 and 5905 will be formally introduced and referred to their respective committees when the Legislature returns to session.

Legislation Advances to Link Employers to Worker Training

The Herald Palladium

South Haven CTE Capitol DayLegislation to connect unfilled jobs with classroom education and training has been approved unanimously by the Michigan Legislature and is on its way to the governor’s desk.

“Thousands of jobs throughout the state and in Southwest Michigan remain unfilled because employers cannot find enough workers with the necessary skills,” said Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, who sponsored the bill. Senate Bill 66 allows for the sharing of information between school districts and businesses that have job needs as well as providing students and their parents with information on what career and technical education (CTE) opportunities are available to them.

Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly called for an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in Michigan schools.

“This legislation will ensure that all Michigan schools will have access to important CTE information and options for how these programs can successfully be provided to students with the highest level of educational rigor,” Proos said.

SB 66 requires the Department of Education to provide CTE course information to school districts and to post information online about CTE best practices from around the state and country.

The department will post online a description of how CTE courses can be used to fulfill the graduation requirements, information on successful CTE programs operated by schools, and details on how schools can work with local businesses, public-private partnerships, trade organizations, universities and community colleges.

“I applaud this legislation led by Senator Proos. It’s a big leap in the right direction for economic development and manufacturing right here in Southwest Michigan and Michigan as a whole,” said Joe Sobieralski, director of the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance. “It’s a tool we can now utilize to help get our youth interested and aware of the quality, stable and good paying jobs here in Southwest Michigan that will ultimately, over time, lead to a stronger economy.”

Michigan’s Comeback Outpacing the Nation

proos commercialOur state economy grew by 2 percent last year, while the U.S. gross domestic product only expanded by 1.8 percent, according to a new federal report.

This is great news for everyone in our state and is another illustration of Michigan’s comeback.  Our pro-jobs reforms have made Michigan a place that businesses want to invest in and create jobs.

We crafted a positive business environment by cutting more than 1,500 needless government rules and adopting a better tax structure that encourages small businesses to grow.

The impact can be seen in the more than 275,000 new private sector jobs and 75,000 manufacturing jobs that Michigan has added in less than four years. Many of these new jobs are right here in Southwest Michigan.

As a result of our strong leadership, Michigan has been named the most improved state in the nation in the annual Top 10 Pro-Business Report from the American Economic Development Institute, is first in the nation for high-tech job growth from 2011-13 and has also been ranked in the top five for major new corporate facilities by Site Selection magazine – for two years in a row.

We achieved much to turn around Michigan’s economy and make our state more competitive for new jobs, yet there is still work to do.

The good news is that we are on the right track. We are growing our economy and creating well-paying jobs that will enable generations to come to choose to live, work and raise a family here in Michigan.

State Tax Dollars Should Stay in Michigan to Support Michigan Jobs

WorkersMichigan spends more than $30 billion annually on goods and services, and using state businesses to meet our needs can improve efficient use of taxpayer dollars, boost our economy and create jobs.

That is why I co-sponsored a bill to give Michigan businesses a priority for state contracts when possible.

It’s a way to thank those who stuck it out during tough times. Most importantly, it simply makes sense.

Senate Bill 517 mirrors the “Buy Indiana Initiative” that gave a preference of up to 5 percent to Indiana-based businesses.

As we work hard to continue Michigan’s turnaround, we must support our home team. Michigan-based businesses and the workers they employ pay taxes help that support vital services like education and public safety.

We owe it to all Michigan residents that we remain responsible and efficient with their tax dollars. That includes ensuring our Michigan tax dollars first go to support Michigan companies and Michigan jobs.

The 2013 Pure Michigan Travel Guide illustrates the need for a state preference. An Iowa firm won the contract to put together the guide’s three seasonal issues, even though a Michigan-based company’s bid was $300,000 less.

I strongly support Pure Michigan because it helps attract jobs and tourists to our state. That’s why I’m so disappointed that a Michigan company and its workers were not picked to design the state’s travel guide when their bid would have actually saved the state money.

Many businesses and organizations have pledged to Buy Michigan. The state should do the same.

Tele-Town Hall a Resounding Success

Proos on the PhoneI recently held the latest in a series of “tele-town hall” meetings to discuss our accomplishments and to hear from residents about their priorities. It was a resounding success with more than 7,800 residents participating.

I strongly believe that listening to the hardworking people of Southwest Michigan is vital and irreplaceable to being a good public servant.

During the meeting, thousands of families and job providers were able to hear what we have been doing and express their viewpoints.

In addition to having 14 people ask me live questions, everyone was able to give their opinion on a series of important issues facing Michigan.

While the reforms we made are resulting in an improving Michigan economy and reduced unemployment, pocketbook issues continue to be the top priority for Southwest Michigan.

When asked what issue is most important to them and their families, 49 percent of residents cited that more needs to be done to match students’ skills sets with jobs that are in demand. I could not agree more, which is why I will continue to stress the importance of career and technical training. In fact, only 37 percent of participants believed that their children or grandchildren had access to career and technical training.

I was encouraged that 79 percent of participants said they intended to visit an agri-tourism location this fall. As an agri-tourist, you can enjoy Southwest Michigan with family and friends, while also supporting local businesses and the entire community.

Thank you to everyone who called in and listened or asked a question. Your input valuable to me, and I always enjoy hearing your opinions. If you were unable to participate in the tele-town hall and have an insight to share, please contact my office by calling 517-373-6960 or emailing senjproos@senate.michigan.gov.