Press Release(s)

CTE Reform Agenda A “Win-Win” for California Students and State’s Economy
Expanding “career technical education” will prepare students for 21st Century jobs and ensure state has skilled workforce needed for economic growth.

 March 22, 2007 Sacramento, CA — A coalition representing California business, labor, agriculture, education, health care and public safety unveiled a package of legislation this week that would expand “career technical education” (CTE) for K-12 students and strengthen math and science instruction by providing students with more “hands-on” learning opportunities.

“Expanding CTE instruction will bring better balance to today’s educational curriculum, make education more relevant and equip our students with the skills needed for 21st Century jobs, whether they choose college or not,” said Jack Stewart, president of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, and co-chair of the GetREAL coalition. “California is suffering from an increasingly acute shortage of skilled workers. Our legislation will reverse this trend by ensuring we have the hundreds of thousands of new skilled workers needed to keep our economy strong and growing.”

According to the California Employment Development Department, California will need 6.5 million new workers between now and 2014 to keep pace with economic growth and “baby boomer” retirements.

“Just as we value cultural diversity in California, we should value diversity in the workforce, and recognize that every skilled job is vital to California’s economic health,” said Bob Balgenorth, president of the State Building & Construction Trades Council and co-chair of the GetREAL coalition. “Today’s good-paying 21st Century jobs require advanced learning, special skills and technical education, but not necessarily a four-year degree. By expanding CTE, we’ll help ensure that all our students are prepared for meaningful and essential work in California’s new economy.”

A study by the Lansing Area Manufacturing Partnership found that CTE students who enrolled in college were better prepared and more likely to graduate.

In California, a recent survey found that 94% of the state’s voters agreed that providing K-12 students with a “well rounded” education that includes core academics and career technical education would provide students with more career opportunities and help them succeed whether they choose college or not.

GetREAL’s legislative agenda includes:

  • AB 400 (position letter) by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, which strengthens the Academic Performance Index by including career and technical education

  • SB 672 by Senator Tom Torlakson, which requires career and technical coursework for all K-12 students

  • SB 13 (position letter) by Senator Mark Wyland, which provides bond funding for career technical education equipment and facilities

  • AB 1414 by Assemblymember Loni Hancock, which provides funding for career and technical education programs in middle and high school

  • AB 1586 by Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, which requires students to have completed career and technical education courses before admission into the state’s public university systems

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GetREAL coalition members include the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, State Building & Construction Trades Council, California Farm Bureau, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, Western States Petroleum Association, Johnson & Johnson, California Agricultural Teachers Association, California Business Education Association, California Industrial and Technology Education Association, California Space Authority, Chevron, California Association of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors and Minorities in Law Enforcement.

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