There are a lot of issues competing for attention in a governorâ€™s State of the State address from pensions to health care to infrastructure to education. So itâ€™s notable of the 31 speeches given this month, Career Technical Education (CTE) has found its way into roughly 40 percent of them, particularly because governors use this speech as a way to outline their priorities for the year and highlight successes.
In some instances, CTE was only mentioned in passing such as in Alaska, where the governor called for increasing educational opportunities for CTE. However, states such as in Indiana, California, and Nevada among others, governors proposed major investments in CTE as a means to prepare a skilled workforce to compete for tomorrowâ€™s jobs and position the state for economic prosperity.
Here is a quick recap of the highlights as of January 26. Weâ€™ll continue tracking the remaining speeches and budget proposals, and bring you an update in the coming weeks.
Although CTE didnâ€™t make it into Gov. Jerry Brownâ€™s speech in California, it received a major boost in the governorâ€™s proposed budget, which was released shortly after. Brown proposed the CTE Incentive Fund, which calls for $750 million over three years in one-time funding. The grant program would require a dollar-for-dollar match by the participating K-12 schools and encourages collaboration with other local agencies to form regional partnerships.
The budget also proposes nearly $30 million to grow and expand apprenticeships.
Declaring his budget the â€œeducation budget,â€ Gov. Mike Pence proposed increasing CTE funding by $20 million a year. The money would be directed through the stateâ€™s Indiana Works Councils.
â€œBy providing $20 million a year to create more career and vocational opportunities and improving the way we fund those courses, we will dramatically increase the number of students who graduate career-ready, and increaseâ€”by fivefoldâ€”the number of students who graduate with an industry-recognized credential by 2020,â€ Pence said.
Gov. Steve Beshear praised the stateâ€™s CTE system in his State of the Commonwealth.
â€œRecognizing that the four-year university path isnâ€™t the best route for everyone, weâ€™ve made our career and technical programs more rigorous and applicable to real-life jobs that demand high-level technical knowledge. These arenâ€™t the so-called â€˜shop classesâ€™ of yesterday but modern training with a touch academic foundation,â€ Beshear said.
Beshear also called on the stateÂ to implement the recommendations of theÂ Dual Credit Task Force to improve the quality of these courses and help students cut the time and cost of their postsecondary education.
Gov. Brian Sandoval used his speech as a bully pulpit for increased education spending. Citing Nevadaâ€™s worst-in-the-nation high school graduation rate as â€œour most troubling education statistic,â€ Sandoval called for $1.1 billion in additional funds for education. Specific to CTE, Sandoval proposed new grant programs to ensure students are college- and career-ready, including an expansion of CTE, Jobs for Americaâ€™s Graduates and STEM education.
Unlike his fellow governors who focused more on funding and programs, Gov. Ray Tomblin highlighted the stateâ€™s need for high-quality teachers. Tomblin said he plans to introduce legislation that expands opportunities for career professionals to enter the teaching field. He called on lawmaker to streamline the teacher certification process to â€œencourage those who have a passion to teacher so they can share their knowledge with our kids.â€
â€œWe must give local school systems better flexibility to train and hire subject-matter experts to fill long-term vacancies in critical subject areas.
For more CTE and workforce coverage, check out proposals and praise from Delaware, Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Vermont.
Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate