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School Administrators Almost On Board With New Skilled Trades Legislation

Nov 1, 2017

Metal Working Class
Credit Jay Inslee / flickr.com

Michigan schools aren’t quite on board with legislation to teach more skilled trades and technical education in schools.  But with a few changes, they might get there soon.


Bills in a state House committee would, among other things, require schools to adopt a model program for career exploration and job readiness.  The Department of Education would have to come up with a model as well.  That model program would help teachers with career development to get kids thinking about what they want their career to be from a young age.

The skilled trades part comes into play more when it comes to teachers. Bills would let professionals teach their trade without a teaching certificate.  Proponents say this will open up the availability for teachers of career and technical education and skilled trades. 

Representative Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) is a bill sponsor.  She says Michigan needs to be more welcoming to skilled trades to make the economy grow. 

“People don’t always grow up to be nurses and firefighters and all the professions that used to be pretty traditional,” she said.  “They’re looking at the new jobs of the 21st Century.”

School administrators are overall positive about bringing more skilled trades education into their classrooms.  They like that the legislation makes the curriculum more flexible and gives teachers more tools to keep students engaged. 

“This, I see, as an opportunity to have a thoughtful policy discussion and actually craft some legislation that could really change some lives,” said Peter Spadafore, the Associate Executive Director for Government Relations for Michigan Association of School Administrators

But Spadafore says they have concerns with the bill package.  He says their main concern is a bill that would let people with a professional license – but not a teaching certificate – teach some career and technical education classes. 

We would like to see more of a process in place that ensures that folks are prepared for success when they enter the classroom through some sort of condensed version of certification or credentialing that really would help get them ready to be successful educators,” he said.

The legislation has had several hearings in a House committee. 

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org