Technical education funding increase introduced

/ 13 March 2012 / jennifer

Erin Schmidtke, Session Daily, March 13, 2012 –

Career and technical training classes at high schools may receive additional funding.

Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) sponsors a bill that would remove dollar caps for career and technical education services in Minnesota, increasing the amount of funding these programs could receive by approximately $10 million per year. These vocational programs teach subjects like agriculture, business and technology.

The House Education Finance Committee laid over HF2554 for possible inclusion in a later bill. Sen. LeRoy Stumpf (DFL-Plummer) sponsors the companion, SF2041. It awaits action by the Senate Education Committee.

Mariani explained that vocational programs help students achieve success in both high school and later in life.

“Career and technical education is the kind of education that increases focus on promoting the skills we recognize are needed for both economic recovery and also for alignment with emerging, new economic opportunities in the global age,” said Mariani.

He added that funding this education would help students acquire skills like time management and critical thinking.

The committee heard testimony from Debbie Belfry, career development director with the Bloomington Public School District. She spoke in support of vocational training in high schools, citing higher graduation rates for those involved in such programs. She also praised the relationships students develop with local entrepreneurs through those classes.

The bill received bipartisan support in the committee.

“In my part of the state, we have career and technical jobs and vocational jobs going afield because people don’t have the correct skills, so I strongly support this bill,” said Rep. Paul Anderson (R-Starbuck).

– Erin Schmidtke