Career and Technical Education (S.304) - March 13, 2024

Heather Bouchey (Interim Secretary, Agency of Education) appeared before Senate Education to discuss S.304 – CTE Opportunities for Grades Six through Ten.  Consensus on the bill could not be reached by all interested parties in Senate Education CommitteeChairman Campion asked that Bouchey return with a consensus bill that parties could all agree on so the bill could be voted on and passed out before cross-over. 

She did so later in the day, returning with a bill that she reported everyone could agree with.  Sadly Sections 10 through 18 of the original bill regarding Career and Technical Education (CTE) funding could not be agreed to. Bouchey referred to the “the Vs” (include VPA, VSBA and VTC) as those who were unable to come to an agreement.   The bill became a strike-all with sections 9 to 18 removed.  The Committee voted on the strike-all bill 5-0-1. 

Campion hoped that the House Education Committee would continue the discuss of funding and perhaps amend the bill accordingly.  He also mentioned that the bill might need to go to Senate Appropriations as it was introduced with a discussion about funding and included funding for a full-time position within Agency of Education.

The bill as it now reads includes the responsibility of local boards in sending districts.  Clarification of what was intended regarding the requirement of a student visit to or equivalent virtual CTE experience at least once between the grades of six and eight. The bill also required the development of a comprehensive career development policy by the Secretary of Education and Commissioner of the Department of Labor (VDOL).

The bill also addressed the construction aid needs of CTE, and the responsibilities of the Secretary of AOE. These responsibilities included minimum standards, measurement of standards, CTE evaluation, course of study evaluation, and rulemaking authority. 

The bill also included legislation on how to promote a seamless pathway from CTE to postsecondary opportunities in the following programs:

  • Manufacturing
  • Engineering
  • Health sciences
  • Education; and
  • Carpentry, construction and building trades.

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