Bill would expand funding for career tech education

Published 9:04 pm Sunday, March 10, 2013

The state Senate’s education budget committee last week approved a bill that would help schools boards purchase equipment for career and technical education.

Known as the 21st Century Workforce Act, it has already passed the House of Representatives, and the Senate is expected to consider the bill this week.

Rep. Mac Buttram, R-Cullman, who is the bill’s sponsor, said it would allow school systems to update their career technical equipment to industry standards and expand those programs.

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As part of the bill, a $50 million bond issue will be allocated with:

• $20 million for a new 21st Century Workforce fund;

• $10 million to local schools in proportion to the number of career tech teachers; and

• $20 million to local systems based on the number of career tech students.

Local systems would apply for grants from the fund.

The bill also creates a 21st Century Workforce Grant committee, which will oversee the grant money and allocate it based on needs.

The state school superintendent, the secretary of commerce, Alabama Industrial Development Training director, Office of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development director, chancellor of the two-year college system and a member appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley, who serves on his College and Career Ready Task Force, will serve on the grant committee.