Legislation giving school boards new tools for the development of vocational skills curricula was approved by the Wisconsin Assembly on a bi-partisan vote Wednesday and is on its way to Gov. Scott Walker's desk.
The Vocational Diploma Bill will help provide a valuable way to train young people for the workforce of the 21st Century according to Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC).
"Wisconsin is the national leader in manufacturing," Sheehy said. "If we are going to keep that competitive edge, we are going to need a steady supply of individuals with technical skills training. The Vocational Diploma bill is central to a long-range workforce strategy for growing Wisconsin's economy."
Under the Vocational Diploma Bill (AB447/SB335), school districts would be authorized to create a separate curriculum for students seeking a "Technical Skills Diploma." The curriculum for this diploma option would supplement existing graduation requirements with courses providing an emphasis on vocational skills and technical trades. By offering this option, students who may or may not be on a college track can learn work-ready skills in vocational areas that are in high demand in Wisconsin.
"There are a lot of good-paying, family-supporting jobs in the manufacturing and skilled trade sectors of our economy that are currently going unfilled because of a lack of trained workers," Sheehy said. "Creating a stronger linkage between the curriculum options available to our students and the workforce needs of our employers is crucial to getting Wisconsin back to work and keeping our state open for business."