Governor Steve Beshear today signed Senate Bill 38, a measure aimed to provide a career pathway process for secondary education in Kentucky. Through a more rigorous academic focus on career and technical education (CTE), the bill provides for a career-based program of study to make students' high school years more relevant to their futures as working adults.
"Because improved career and technical education is a critical component of Kentucky's college- and career-readiness initiative, I want to thank Sen. Westwood for his continued commitment to this bill," said Gov. Beshear. "High-quality CTE programs through career pathways can attract and motivate students to complete high school and prepare them for a broad range of postsecondary options."
Sponsored by Sen. Jack Westwood, of Erlanger, SB 38 requires the Kentucky Department of Education to issue core content standards for career and technical education, assess student progress and develop new courses relevant to college and career readiness. It provides a process to assess at-risk students and provide evidence-based programs to help students learn, stay in school, and be successful in their transition to postsecondary education or the workplace.
"The Career Pathways Bill of 2012 is an invaluable tool to encourage our students to graduate from high school prepared to enter postsecondary school or the workforce with the skills necessary for success," Sen. Westwood said. "By receiving a rigorous academic and technical education relevant to their interests, at-risk students, especially, will be more inclined to finish high school rather than dropping out."
Gov. Beshear said the bill is a clear example of the General Assembly working in a bipartisan effort to strengthen Kentucky's education system. The Governor also thanked Rep. Carl Rollins, of Midway, for sponsoring the bill in the House and for his work as chairman of the Education Committee in the House.
The legislation connects with Kentucky's current focus on individualized instruction in order to best meet all students' needs and goals and aims to help students see the direct connection between education and jobs.
"Career and technical education is truly the linchpin in workforce preparation initiatives creating the talent pipeline Kentucky employers need and want," said Education and Workforce Development Secretary Joseph U. Meyer. "Capitalizing on the strengths of CTE will be vital to preparing our students to compete and our workforce to succeed in the future."
A top priority for the Beshear administration has always been to improve education opportunities for all students in the Commonwealth. From initiatives like Transforming Education in Kentucky to Graduate Kentucky, the goal has been to create a unified vision of what schools need to offer in order to better serve students today and tomorrow.
A changing economy requires schools to prepare students for a more complex and competitive workplace, Gov. Beshear said.
The Career Pathways bill complements other CTE initiatives currently underway in Kentucky to ensure students are college and career ready. For example, the new college- and career-readiness measure in the state's accountability model includes an academic component and a technical skill component. A dual credit agreement allows CTE students to earn college credit in high school courses.
Kentucky is collaborating with the Southern Regional Education Board to develop new career pathways through an initiative called Preparation for Tomorrow. Kentucky continues its work on CTE curriculum alignment with common core standards to create a new model of CTE emphasizing innovation, integration of core academics, 21st-century skills and project-based learning.