House Bill 207 unites efforts to better prepare students for careers in 21st Century
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (May 16, 2013) — Gov. Steve Beshear on Wednesday ceremonially signed House Bill 207 that unites the state’s two Career and Technical Education (CTE) systems under the guidance of Kentucky’s Department of Education. The goal is to create a unified, more relevant and efficient system to educate and prepare students for the world of work in a real-life setting.
“Our students need an education system that provides job-training and learning opportunities that will prepare them with the skills today’s businesses require,” Beshear said. “Recognizing the valuable role that CTE plays is an essential part of building a viable, competitive workforce.”
The legislation, which codifies an executive order signed by Beshear in August 2012, is part of a larger effort to prepare students for a wider range of career options through high-quality CTE programs. There is a statewide movement to make these programs more accessible earlier, more academically rigorous and better aligned with postsecondary requirements and employer needs.
For example, the Kentucky Board of Education has adopted a college and career readiness measure that includes an academic component and a technical skill component. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) offers dual credit opportunities so that high school students can earn college credit. Kentucky provides funds from the Carl D. Perkins CTE Basic Grant to encourage secondary and postsecondary institutions to develop innovative career pathways.
“Career and technical education directly connects learning and jobs for our students and provides them with engaging real-world opportunities so that they can transition to higher education or employment with ease,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “This move is a key strategy in our efforts to ensure college and career readiness for all students.”
The legislation also establishes a CTE Advisory Committee that will provide guidance in the design and implementation of programs that give all students the best possible opportunity for career preparation in a unified system.
“House Bill 207 places career and technical education in the Kentucky Department of Education where it will receive the emphasis it should,” said Rep. Wilson Stone, of Scottsville, who sponsored the bill. “No function of our public schools is more important than seeing that our young people are being prepared for successful careers as they grow into productive adults.”
Bowling Green has reaped the benefits “of having outstanding colleges and universities like Western Kentucky University, and Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College,” said Rep. Jim DeCesare, of Bowling Green. “It is my hope the reorganization of our community and technical community college system will spur continuing efforts to increase the number of Kentuckians with college degrees, and lead to more growth in our business community.”
The signing ceremony was conducted at Western Kentucky University’s Small Business Accelerator in the Center for Research and Development. The Small Business Accelerator provides clients with business support services and community resources to help them survive and grow during the start-up period. It is currently home to 17 technology-based businesses.