Alaska recently signed a measure that includes the creation of a separate funding stream dedicated to career technical education (CTE) funding for school programs. Senate Bill 84, sponsored by Senators Kevin Meyer and Joe Thomas, is the result of many advocacy groups coming together to support school districts in Alaska. The Alaska Board of regents, the Alaska Board of Education, and the Alaska Workforce Investment Board worked cooperatively, approving the Alaska Career and Technical Education Plan, which provided a foundation for the section of the Bill that establishes a CTE factor in the school funding formula, that is projected to generate $11.7 million for school districts based on student enrollment.
According to Helen Mehrkens, the Alaska State Career and Technical Education Program Director, the “state recognized that CTE is important to our citizens – and that we need to develop sustainable careers and help those employers who are key to our state’s economic growth.” Mehrkens added that the funding is part of a continuous funding stream, not just a one year influx of funding and that, as a local control state, school districts will have flexibility on the application of funds. This new law will provide the continuous funding for CTE programs that will enable programs to provide viable, stable opportunities for students now and in the future.