The bill provides students with career pathways and career coaches.
Authored by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R), the Comprehensive Career and Technical Reform Act (H.B. 1388) was signed by Governor Tate Reeves (R) on March 23. The legislation emphasizes workforce development and training reaching into K-12 schools in Mississippi.
The new law requires the Office of Workforce Development to pilot a career coaching program to support middle schools and high schools as students are exposed, prepared and connected to career avenues within and beyond the classroom setting. Through strong partnerships with economic and business leaders, paired with viable relationships with school districts, the career coaches will target the alignment of students’ strengths with intentional academic and work-based learning in pursuit of meaningful professional employment.
“The legislation even included for establishing the ability to assess career readiness for high school students, and they funded that in the appropriation,” Scott Waller, President and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC), told Y’all Politics. “It also called for creating career coaches, somebody to come in and help those students understand what those opportunities are for them as they go forward.”
Waller said it takes us one step closer to valuing all career pathways equally.
“Four-year college degrees are vitally important, but so are two-year associates degrees, so are industry certifications that lead to real, high paying jobs,” Waller said. “So, we have to really focus our attention on making sure that everyone understands all of these pathways are valuable.”
Speaker Gunn said that he authored the bill to support workforce development and thanked State Rep. Donnie Bell (R) for his leadership in passing the bill.
“I authored HB 1388 to support workforce development. It puts private-sector career coaches in K-12 schools to prepare students for today’s careers, streamlines our WFD efforts, and aligns them with employers’ needs,” Gunn said on Twitter.
You can read the full copy of House Bill 1388 below.