House bills create opportunity for extensive career exploration, ensure students have access to multiple career pathways to close talent gap

Media Contact: Dave Murray
517-243-7530 | murrayd5@michigan.gov

Oct. 18, 2017

LANSING, Mich.  — Students would receive better access to multiple career pathways with expanded resources to explore the array of good jobs available in Michigan under legislation introduced today, said Talent and Economic Development Director Roger Curtis and State Superintendent Brian Whiston.   

The bills, if adopted, would help students and their parents learn more about career opportunities, and give educators more tools to enhance programs.

“We applaud the bipartisan leadership shown today with the introduction of this critically-needed legislation designed to close our state’s talent gap and create more and better opportunities for students,” Curtis said. “These bills are a great first step, and there is more that can – and should – be done to solve this issue. Our talent gap stems, in part, from a career awareness gap and it’s important for our students have opportunities to be inspired and explore potential careers, and the pathways to those jobs.”

The legislation, if adopted, would require a model program for career exploration and job readiness to be incorporated into lessons, establish career development instruction and provide students with extensive career exploration and essential job skills needed to land one of the many good jobs available in Michigan.

School boards would be able to address a critical shortage of CTE instructors by having the ability to hire licensed professionals to teach in career-tech courses in their field of expertise.

The bills also call for educators to be able to use time spent engaging with local employers or tech centers to count toward professional teaching certificate renewal.

Curtis and Whiston thank Rep. Ben Frederick, chair of the House Workforce and Talent Development Committee for his leadership on this issue, and Reps. Julie Alexander, Sue Allor, Bronna Kahle, Robert Kosowski and Daire Rendon for sponsoring the legislation.

“We want to provide all students with the opportunity to be successful during school and after graduation,” Whiston said. “We want Michigan to lead the nation in developing talent. These bills build upon work we have underway to address all of these goals.”

The legislation supports a number of the recommendations from the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, which is headed by Curtis and Whiston and the direction of Gov. Rick Snyder.  The legislation also supports current efforts to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years, which includes partnering with employers to develop a strong, educated and highly skilled workforce. 

The Michigan Career Pathways Alliance has 17 recommendations to develop talent in the state, including some that Whiston signed into effect with an executive directive in June.

Curtis said the alliance members will continue working with lawmakers and stakeholders on the remaining recommendations, including starting the discussion on how to improve CTE programs statewide and ensure that every student the state has access to solid pathways that will lead to successful careers.

The alliance includes more than 70 business, education, economic development and labor leaders continue to work diligently to ensure all young Michiganders get career-connected before graduation. 

Click here to re-watch the press conference