Career and technical education prepares students for the future

By Sen. Dave Miramant | Feb 20, 2020

Back in the day, high school students received a well-rounded education that prepared them for the real world. They learned to fix cars, build houses, manage finances and cook. Sadly, those classes have largely gone by the wayside. But this year in the Maine Senate, career and technical education is making a comeback. I’m working to ensure that kids across Maine have the chance to pursue great jobs in the trades and learn skills that they’ll use throughout their lives.

Hands-on learning had a lifelong impact on generations of students, setting us up for success later on. Classes in automotive repair, welding, carpentry and culinary arts inspired young people to become entrepreneurs. Many pursued satisfying, stable careers in the trades with little to no student debt.

Education today is a different story. Our students spend much of their time reading textbooks that seem far removed from their daily lives. Today’s students don’t have as many opportunities to learn skills that will stick with them, opening doors to great local jobs right here in Knox County.

At the same time, Maine is struggling with a skills gap — businesses aren’t able to find workers with the skills they need. According to Ed Cervone, director of Educate Maine, “The data shows that with current job growth and with trajectories and trends, 60% of the workforce will need something in addition to a high school degree” by 2025.

Fortunately, Maine has 27 career and technical education centers, including the Mid-Coast School of Technology in Rockland, which serves students from Camden Hills Regional High School, Islesboro Central School, Lincoln Academy, Medomak Valley, North Haven, Oceanside, and Vinalhaven. MCST offers excellent career and technical education programs from marine technology and mathematics to auto repair and welding.

In the Maine Senate, we are working to promote career and technical education. One problem we’re addressing is that many of Maine’s Career and Technical Education centers have old equipment that doesn’t compare with the technology students will actually use in the workplace. If students learn using equipment that’s 20 or 30 years old, they won’t be prepared for the state-of-the-art technology businesses are using today. One thing we can do in Augusta is provide funding for CTE centers to upgrade their facilities and equipment.

That’s why I’m supporting a bill introduced by Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, LD 2022, “An Act To Provide Funding for Capital Improvements and Equipment for Career and Technical Education Centers and Regions.” This bill would provide $4 million for CTE centers to improve their equipment. That would go a long way to teaching our students skills that will last a lifetime. The bill was unanimously approved by the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee and now faces votes before the full Senate and House.

It’s time to provide our kids with the hands-on education that they’ll use throughout their lives. CTE not only prepares students for the real world, but also addresses our skills gap, training students for good-paying jobs right here in our communities.

If you have any questions or concerns for me, I am always available at (207) 287-1515 or David.Miramant@legislature.maine.gov. It’s an honor to serve as your state senator.

 

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 20, 2020 12:20

Kudos for this bill which will teach our young people how to earn a living and contribute to the community. A win, win!

 



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