Michigan’s career technical education programs need additional resources so students gain in-demand skills

Dave Murray

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Gov. Snyder’s budget proposal includes grants to purchase state-of-the-art equipment

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s K-12 districts are doing an outstanding job preparing our state’s young people for the careers of today and tomorrow, but there is more we can do to help give educators the tools they need to ensure students are graduating with relevant, in-demand skills, said Steve Arwood, director of the Michigan Talent and Economic Development Department.

Arwood on Wednesday joined Gov. Rick Snyder at the Career and Technical Education Showcase, an annual event in Michigan’s State Capitol where students from around the state represent career pathways and opportunities, giving lawmakers and others an up-close look at programs training the next generations.

Snyder, working with partners in the state Legislature, has invested in a variety of programs aimed at helping students become aware of career opportunities in the skilled trades. Snyder also has worked to connect school districts with higher education and the business community so students can compete in a global economy with needed skills in emerging and important fields.

“Michigan continues to make tremendous progress in reinventing its economy and creating an environment for companies to add more and better jobs,” Arwood said. “Today we saw impressive students who are gaining skills that will lead to good jobs. It’s important that we continue working with districts to build their programs and keep them up to date. 

Gov. Snyder’s 2017 budget recommendation includes $10 million to help K-12 district and intermediate school district career-tech programs purchase state-of-the-art equipment. That’s so students can continue to gain skills using the same equipment that’s being used in the field. When they graduate and are ready for careers or continuing their education, they’ll have hands-on experience, giving than an important advantage.

The budget proposal is now before the Legislature. The equipment program is similar to the $50 million Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program lawmakers approved in 2014. The program, one of the largest of its kind in the nation, helped 18 community colleges collaborate with local districts and business communities and purchase equipment.

Arwood said such programs are part of a comprehensive strategy to build a talented workforce and keep Michigan’s economy growing. Since the end of 2010, Michigan businesses have created more than 450,000 jobs. The state’s unemployment rate has dropped from 11.2 percent to 4.8 percent, below the national average.

“We should be proud of the programs and students we saw today, and of what our state has accomplished,” he said. “But we can’t slow down if we are to meet our goal of becoming a national leader in developing talent.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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