At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Trade Feb. 13 the WASB supported Senate Bill 16, which increases funding for career and technical education (CTE) incentive grants for school districts by $3.5 million per year in both 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Demand for these grants is anticipated to increase as both the number of eligible students (including those earning multiple industry certifications) and the number of school districts submitting claims continues to grow. In addition, legislation enacted last session added public safety occupations, including fire fighters, emergency medial responders and emergency medical services practitioners, to the list of industry certifications eligible for these grants and provided for a $500 completion award to each student who successfully completes a public safety occupation training program.
The WASB praised the bill’s author and committee chair, Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac), for his support of CTE in public schools and the incentive grant program.
In our written testimony in support of the bill, the WASB noted that these performance-based grants: a) are only awarded to school districts that have an industry-recognized certification program; b) are only awarded if a student graduates and successfully completes a DWD-approved, industry-recognized certification program, thus encouraging school districts to make sure students do both these things; and c) promote a healthy dialogue around addressing workforce shortages in our state, particularly with respect to identifying industries and occupations that face workforce shortages or shortages of adequately trained entry-level workers.