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Senate introduces bills to build stronger talent pipeline with expanded tools for K-12 schools

LANSING, Mich., Nov. 30, 2017 — Michigan students would receive even more tools to explore, receive training and land one of the state’s thousands of good jobs available now and into the future under bills introduced today in the state Senate, said Talent and Economic Development Director Roger Curtis and State Superintendent Brian Whiston.

Senate Bills introduced today, if adopted, would create talent portfolios, allow more frequent and meaningful use of educational development plans and update career development plans in a school’s improvement plan.

“We applaud the leadership shown by Sens. Peter MacGregor and Ken Horn with the introduction of this critical legislation,” Curtis said. “These bills are aimed at providing students with the resources needed to explore careers and understand the training needed to land jobs in our 21st-century economy.”

The two bills were created in the spirit of the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance recommendations announced this past summer.

“Senate Bills 684 and 685 are the culmination of years of work and I’m proud to be a part of yet another step in getting students the resources they need to make sound career choices,” said Sen. Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “We want to give students the chance to explore every opportunity available to them. Talent portfolios will be something that parents and counselors can point to as young people begin to look at their futures.”

Sen. MacGregor agreed.

“When I first took office, one of my principal goals was to get people back to work,” said Sen. MacGregor, R-Rockford. “The Legislature has championed many pieces of legislation aimed at expanding opportunities to students. We’ve come to realize that a four-year college degree is not ideal for every student and we need to improve access to options that help students make career choices. These bills would do just that.”

The alliance was created by Gov. Rick Snyder and is headed by Curtis and Whiston, and includes more than 100 education, business, economic development and labor organizations from across the state.

“Creating the talent of the future starts in our schools,” Whiston said. “These bills build upon our forward-moving progress to ensure students get career connected before graduation and help address our career awareness gap. These bills are good for our students, our economy and the future of Michigan.”

As part of the bills, students’ educational development plans would:

  • Provide them with an opportunity to explore careers specific to their interests and identify career pathways and goals for achieving success in those careers.
  • Offer information on various types of careers and current and projected job openings in the state with projected wages.
  • Create an opportunity to develop a talent portfolio, a record of a student’s experience, proficiencies, certifications or accomplishments that demonstrate talents or marketable skills.

The bills also require schools to involve hands-on learning, combined with classroom instruction that enhances a student’s employability skills and requires schools to provide age-appropriate career informational resources in all grades.

Schools will also need to provide students with the opportunity – in a grade the district deems appropriate – to complete one or more experiences in a field of the student’s interests and have school counselors discuss career interests, options and preparations with students at each grade level.

Schools also would offer programs providing students in grades six to 12 with work-based learning activities that make connections between industry experts in a variety of fields and ensure all students in grade 12 know how to develop and use a resume, reference letter, school record and talent portfolio.

The bills add to the House bill package currently being considered, which include HBs 5139-5142 and 5145 and support a number of the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance recommendations. The legislation also supports current efforts to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years.

Curtis said the alliance is keeping its foot on the gas and will continue to work with lawmakers and stakeholders to make sure students are prepared post-secondary education, be it a four-year degree, apprenticeship program, certification program or community college.