The Mississippi House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive Career and Technical Education Reform Act (HB 1388) yesterday morning, sending the bill to the desk of Governor Tate Reeves.
Overall, the bill will provide a detailed list of industry certifications to K-12 students in Mississippi through a career coaching program to ensure they are aligned with a career or technical program that best suits them.
The career coaching program will be piloted by the Office of Workplace Development and offered to middle and high school students, along with testing high schoolers through the ACT Workkeys Assessment or a Career-Readiness Assessment that is approved by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE).
Local school boards will be allowed to determine when the testing for the assessments is administered to high schoolers in either ninth, tenth, or eleventh grade.
Along with improving career pathway education to students through primary and secondary schools, the bill will require the MDE to work in conjunction with the Mississippi Community College Board for post-secondary education requirements.
The purpose of the partnership is to “ensure alignment of career and technical education courses across the public school system and community college system,” as well as to keep young Mississippians in the state.
Former Mississippi Coding Academies Executive Director Glenn McCullough explained the impact the bill will have not only on students looking for a career but companies that choose to come to Mississippi.
“Community colleges… and the research public universities are all working as a team with K-12 education, and it’s really enabled Mississippi with a workforce advantage,” he explained. “That’s how we recruit companies from around the world to come to Mississippi because we’ve got people who are going to help that company succeed.”
With the implementation of the bill, legislators hope the workforce quality and quantity will increase across Mississippi. If signed by Reeves, the bill is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2022.