SENATE TO CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE HIGH SCHOOL CAREER OPTION

Bryant: ‘A skilled workforce is essential to the growing progress of Mississippi’

JACKSON – Labor market economists predict a shortage of workers in the coming years as approximately 72 million baby boomers begin to retire without enough skilled workers to replace them.

“An educated and skilled workforce is critical for future economic development,” Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant said. “For Mississippi to continue to remain competitive in the workforce we must focus on solutions designed to improve our skilled workers, and SB 2557 puts that mechanism into place.”

According to a poll conducted by the Miss. Assoc. of Builders and Contractors, over 80% of the members that responded acknowledged that finding qualified candidates to hire was difficult while the average age of a skilled craftsman is 58 years old.

SB 2557 provides the option of combining traditional academic courses and modern career-technical courses. Students in this program graduate from high school with a standard diploma, and credit towards a community college certification in a career-technical field.

According to Bryant, a career track program will provide students with greater technical skills and an academic core.

“The purpose of this bill is to create a quality option in Mississippi’s high schools for students not wishing to pursue a bachelor’s degree,” Bryant said.

Students will be prepared to pursue either a degree or certification from a postsecondary institution, an industry-based training or certification, an apprenticeship, the military, or immediate entrance into a career field.

SB 2557 could be considered in the Senate on Wednesday.

SB 2557: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2011/pdf/history/SB/SB2557.xml

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Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant Press Release
2/8/11