It is Critical to Support Career and Technical Education Programs

It is Critical to Support Career and Technical Education Programs

In much of rural Missouri and especially in our corner of the state, Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are critical to our communities and invaluable to many of our young students. These programs offer students the ability to learn skills outside the traditional classroom in various fields, including vocational agriculture, automotive repair, advanced manufacturing, building trades, and health occupations. The CTE programs that are in our schools today involve a combination of rigorous academics, structured learning experiences and opportunities to earn college credit during high school. These programs have a long track record of better preparing students for post-secondary success, whether those students seek additional education after high school or intend on entering the workforce immediately.

As we look ahead to the future, especially as technology continues to alter the landscape of industry and business, CTE will become increasingly important. These programs truly enable students to graduate from high school with the knowledge, skills and experience they need to take on the complex and demanding jobs of today and tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the support shown towards CTE programs by our local schools and communities is often not shared by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Over the last several years, members of the General Assembly who support CTE programs have had to pass numerous bills recognizing the importance of CTE programs and fighting back against the efforts of those in the department who have sought to eliminate CTE programs. I am happy to join the efforts to support CTE programs and there was continued work this past session towards continuing to support the existence and development of CTE in our schools.

While these bills did not ultimately become law as a result of legislative gridlock at the end of the legislative session, Senate Bill 13 and Senate Bill 172 were introduced and made significant progress this past session. These bills intend to create a career and technical education certificate that high school students would be able to earn in addition to their diploma. The CTE requirements would give students the training they need to be prepared for either additional training or an entry-level career in a technical field, allowing them to immediately enter the workforce upon graduation.

As we begin preparing for the next legislative session, I expect there to be continued discussions on these bills and finding additional ways to promote successful CTE programs. These programs are critical to our communities and the thousands of students who utilize them to prepare themselves to further their education or directly enter the workforce with skills to help them succeed. That is why I intend to continue to do whatever I can to promote and support CTE here in the Show-Me State.

As always, please feel free to call, email, or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.



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