Missouri Business Headlines

Gov. Nixon signs legislation to improve job-readiness in technical fields

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Legislation to bolster the technical education available at Missouri high schools was signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon today. Under Senate Bill 620, sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, the state will create a new technical education certificate that high school students could earn alongside their diploma. Romine is a Republican from Farmington.

“Employers need students who are ready to go to work for companies providing good-paying, high-tech jobs,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and CEO. “This new law helps educators enhance technical education to give students the skills they need to succeed in these fields while still in high school.”

The bill would require state education leaders to establish requirements students would have to meet to earn a technical education certificate. Under the bill, local school districts would have the freedom to make curriculum decisions, identify programs of study and choose specific course offerings.

“By making our education system more efficient and responsive to job needs, Missouri will see significant savings,” Mehan said. “But most important, our students will be receiving an educational value they can put to work right away.”

The Missouri 2030 Gallup survey of 1,000 Missouri businesses found that only 15 percent of business leaders believe Missouri high school graduates are prepared for the workforce.

“The legislation signed today could make a big difference in turning that statistic around,” Mehan said.

The bill was handled in the Missouri House by Rep. Kathy Swan, a Republican from Cape Girardeau.

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