2018-02-08 / Opinions

VIEW from Lansing

Michigan schools to expand CTE Programs

LANSING - Michigan is investing $12.5 million to help students gain in-demand career skills on state-of-the-art equipment, boost awareness, and provide more training opportunities, State Superintendent Brian Whiston announced recently.

The $12.5 million includes $7 million to be distributed equally to Career Education Planning Districts across the state.

Huron County is Career Education Planning District (CEPD) 25. Each of the 53 CEPDs, including CEPD 25, received $132,075 under section 61c(1). The $5 million in competitive grants under section 61c(7) have not yet been awarded. The applications currently are being reviewed, according to William DiSessa of the Office of Public & Governmental Affairs.

The state also has $5 million in competitive grants available to districts demonstrating partnerships with higher education and industries, and can demonstrate how funding will be used to increase training in high-wage, high-skill, high-demand occupations.

“We want students across the state to have access to strong career and technical education programs,” Whiston said. “These grants will help all districts, and allow some to show how to develop partnerships within their communities and build awareness so students know what opportunities exist.”

The $5 million competitive grant must be used to: make CTE classes more available; demonstrate the commitment of local and regional partners, as well as employer demand; increase career awareness for students, adult learners, parents, teachers and counselors; and boost student work-based learning opportunities, apprenticeships and teacher/ counselor externships.

Grants will range from $100,000- $1 million, expected to be announced later this month.

Additional funding for CTE equipment was a recommendation from the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, which was created by Gov. Rick Snyder and is headed by Whiston and Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. The alliance includes more than 100 education, business, economic development and labor organizations from across the state.

“It’s more difficult for students to get the training they need if they are learning on long-outdated equipment,” Curtis said. “These grants will help schools modernize, with the guidance from local partners who know the skills - and equipment - needed to be successful today and moving forward. We appreciate the support from the Legislature to make this happen.”

For the $7 million in grants distributed statewide, funds must be used to update equipment to result in training for high-wage, high-skill and high-demand occupations.

Last year, $3 million was equally distributed statewide to purchase equipment and training tools to increase CTE programs.

Gov. Rick Snyder said in June while unveiling a comprehensive series of actions and recommendations students need better access to career pathways and schools need more support to enhance programs if Michigan is going close the talent gap and continue building a more prosperous future.

Proposals include expanding and strengthening career technical education statewide through a series of approaches, including curriculum changes, increased collaboration between educators and employers, and added resources for students to discover and prepare for potential opportunities. The announcement was made at Brose North America, an automotive supplier that was a founding member of Gov. Snyder’s Michigan Advanced Technician Training program and a sponsor of FIRST Robotics and SquareOne. The company has started a high school apprenticeship program, working with the Oakland Schools career program.

“We all have an important role in making sure every student has the opportunity to explore multiple pathways to find a career that matches their interests and goals,” Snyder said. “We call this effort the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance. We are bringing together economic developers, employers and educators, as well as K-12 districts and higher education institutions with union leaders and businesses.”

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