Gino DiCaro

Career technical education gets a boost

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, Nov. 10, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Voters on November 7 approved the "Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2006" (Prop. 1D) to provide more than $10 billion for modernization and construction of school facilities.  CMTA supported the bond measure, in part because it dedicates $500 million to career technical education (CTE) facilities in the middle and high schools. The goal is to provide students "the skills and knowledge necessary for the high-demand technical careers of today and tomorrow."

Revitalizing CTE is a top issue for CMTA. In the last few decades the number of CTE courses have dropped dramatically and, at the same time, a need is growing to fill jobs now held by retiring baby boomers.  In addition, our growing economy is increasingly driven by technology based companies requiring highly trained workers.

Passage of the bond measure is a great step forward, but much more needs to be done to ensure that the money is wisely spent. Industry partners will be necessary in nearly every step of the process, as noted below in the outline for putting this investment to work in the public schools:

Oversight to include industry participation
The State Department of Education, in cooperation with the Community Colleges, the Labor and Workforce Agency and industry groups will develop criteria and pupil outcome measures to evaluate the program. The criteria should ensure equity, program relevance to industry needs, and articulation with more advanced coursework at the community colleges or private institutions.

No school district may receive funding unless there is an active Career Technical Advisory Committee in place to develop recommendations on the program and to provide liaison between the district and potential employers. The committee will consist of representatives of the general public, students, teachers, business, industry, school administration, and the field office of the Department of Employment Development.

Grant criteria will focus on meeting needs in the economy
School districts interested in obtaining funds must satisfy the evaluation criteria above and also show:
  • That they are offering all qualified pupils a course of study that provides an opportunity to attain entry-level employment skills in business or industry upon graduation from high school.  
  • A comprehensive plan for each course of study and projected pupil enrollment.
  • Coordination with all feeder schools, middle schools, and high schools within the area to ensure that the programs complement CTE offerings in the area.
  • How they will account for pupil enrollments and outcomes (for example, certificate completions, successful job placements, and transition to post-secondary institutions for work in industry or other areas of study.)

Matching funds can be provided by industry
New construction grants must not exceed $3 million and modernization grants must not exceed over $1.5 million. A school district must match the state funds with local contributions by private industry groups, the school district, or a joint powers authority.

CMTA encourages companies to take an active role in supporting local school district efforts to obtain funding for CTE facilities.  For more information about this issue, contact Dorothy Rothrock at drothrock@cmta.net or 916-498-3319.

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