Herbig introduces bill to invest in career and technical education

Feb 07, 2020
Wilson Hess of Freedom, chairman of the state Board of Education; Kevin Michaud, director of Waldo County Technical Center; Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast; and Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport, from left, at a press conference Feb. 6 supporting LD 2022, which would invest in career and technical centers in Maine.

Augusta — Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, has introduced a bill to invest in career and technical education centers. LD 2022, “An Act To Provide Funding for Capital Improvements and Equipment for Career and Technical Education Centers and Regions,” was the subject of a public hearing Thursday before the Legislature’s Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

LD 2022 would authorize the commissioner of education to expend and disburse $4 million to career and technical education centers and regions to make capital improvements and to purchase equipment. The bill faces further action in committee before heading to votes in the Senate and House.

“Investing in career and technical education is key to our present and future economic success. By supporting local training for local jobs, we make sure both our heritage and emerging industries have the workforce they need to grow and thrive,” Herbig said.

There are 27 CTE centers in Maine that serve more than 8,000 high school students and many more in adult education programs. If legislation is successful this session, it will be the first time CTE has received an increase in funds for equipment and capital improvements since 1998.

In testimony supporting the bill, Kevin Michaud, director of Waldo County Technical Center, said, “This important bill would allow much-needed enhancements to our CTE programming and school, by upgrading equipment that is often 20 years of age, if not older, as well as improving the facilities in these learning areas.

“With such infrastructure upgrades in place, WCTC students would be able to better meet the proficiency standards within their selected programs, as well as hone ‘cutting edge’ skills in a safer, industry-like environment,” he said.

Wilson Hess of Freedom, chairman of the state Board of Education, said, “Today there are unfilled jobs at middle-class pay scales all around the state, even in rural areas. The reason these jobs are unfilled is that many potential job applicants don’t have the minimum skills necessary. … The jobs and sectors that are projected to be in demand in Maine for the next 10 years include computer analysis, construction, engineering, health care, hospitality, manufacturing and transportation.”










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