LRC seeks improvements in vocational education

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In good news for construction and  training efforts, an LRC Study Committee on Career and Technical Education has  been authorized to make recommendations for next year’s long session, reports the Carolinas AGC’s Weekly NewsBreak.  The  committee, under the LRC, is directed to recommend how “to improve the quality  and relevance of the training, align basic education and vocational and higher  education training and ensure that students who are not college bound are  career ready.”

The joint committee, authorized on August 23, is to be co-chaired  by Senators Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) along with  House Representative Bryan Holloway (R-Stokes), all strong supporters of CTE.  The committee is expected to crank up its work in coming weeks. The committee, to discontinue its work along with the LRC by Jan. 15, 2013, is charged with  studying the following:

1.  The requirements and challenges North Carolina high school graduates face in today’s changing and demanding job market, including a review of what North Carolina industries look for in well-qualified candidates for employment as it pertains to education, certification and skill level.

2.  Career and College Promise program, specifically the Career and Technical Education Pathway and the Cooperative Innovative High School Pathway, to determine if the program is meeting the unique needs of students seeking to enter the workforce after completing high school. The study will include a review of the career clusters and pathways, work-based learning, career academies, time-shortened programs, and certification and credentialing offered to determine if they meet the current needs of North Carolina’s students and business community. The study also will examine current outreach and practices to raise student awareness of career-technical education opportunities.

3.  Progress in developing regional schools through Session Law 2011-241, which authorized local boards of education to jointly establish a regional school to serve enrolled students in two or more local school administrative units that will expand student opportunities for educational success through high-quality instructional programming.

4.  Article 10 of Chapter 115C of the N.C. General Statutes as it pertains to vocational and technical education to determine if modification is necessary to best reflect the intent of the General Assembly and provide the necessary opportunities and flexibility to establish innovative  learning environments that provide students with practical work experience and vocational skills.

5.  Additional cost-effective ways in which the Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina Community College System and the business community can partner to offer enriched educational opportunities for students to enter the workforce with academic and marketable vocational skills after completing high school.

6.  Potential legislative actions to further enhance connecting career-technical education to other aspects of education, workforce preparation and economic development through innovative schools and high academic standards.

7.  Any other issues associated with vocational education deemed appropriate by the committee.

Carolinas AGC and the North Carolina Association for Career and Technical Education representatives met during the short legislative session,  which ended July 3, with some legislative leaders about ways to strengthen CTE  in the public schools. Those legislators said that rather than taking a  piecemeal approach to improving CTE, they wanted to study the issue and make solid changes to make students more career-ready.  “One of Carolina’s AGC top goals is education and training for our construction industry,” said Dave Simpson, “Improving career technical education, especially involving construction, is a win-win for everybody.”  Read More.

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