To address manufacturing’s continued talent gap and provide the next generation with opportunities for career prosperity right here in Michigan, MMA gave its support today to three bills dedicated to strengthening career and technical education (CTE) programs.
Senate Bills 909-910, introduced by Senator Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy), were voted out of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, 6/5/18, and would work toward the goal of expanding and strengthening CTE programs — specifically by addressing a shortage of CTE instructors. The two-bill package would address this challenge by allowing a school to hire a non-certificated, non-endorsed instructor for a CTE program if the person has a license or certification in the field of the program.
“In the manufacturing sector, the talent gap is exacerbated by a demographic problem,” testified Delaney McKinley, MMA senior director of government affairs and membership. “As we see the large baby boomer population headed toward retirement, they take their skills and experience with them. And without the next generation trained and ready to take their place, we could be facing a cataclysmic shift in our industry.”
McKinley continued by saying, “We believe that many of those near-retirees with outstanding experience and skills may have a great interest in imparting their knowledge on the next generation workforce. We have an opportunity to turn a potentially catastrophic situation to a positive one, but we need to address the current barriers that impede the way.”
MMA worked with Senator Knollenberg’s office on amendatory language to clarify that the license or certification does not have to be issued by the state.
The third piece of legislation to receive MMA support deals with the important role flexibility has in determining a student’s career path. In 2014, the Legislature passed MMA-supported legislation to allow additional flexibility in how CTE students achieve credits required for graduation. Senate Bill 175, introduced by Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland), would eliminate the sunset attached to that 2014 bill and ensure current and future students receive the same flexible options to determine the career path right for them.
“In a survey of the over 22,000 students to complete CTE programs in 2016, 83.9 percent are employed and 74.2 are continuing their education through apprenticeships and two- and four-year degree paths,” said McKinley. “We believe these success statistics make a compelling case for continued investment in strong CTE programs and long-term course flexibility.”
SB 175 was reported out of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, 6/5/18.
Reach out to your Senators and Representatives and tell them Michigan’s manufacturing talent future depends on well-educated, skilled workers.
This article originally appeared in the 6/5/18 issue of MFG Voice.