Alliance for Vocational Technical Education Legislation 2021

Overview of Massachusetts legislation increasing access to vocational technical education to help students on long waitlists  and to help employers find new qualified workers.

Context: The Alliance for Vocational Technical Education  (AVTE) has worked with legislators to file these bills to  

expand the capacity of the  state’s excellent system of  vocational schools. Every year,  thousands of students who want  to attend vocational schools in  Massachusetts are denied the opportunity, with the greatest impact felt by students from Gateway Cities and disadvantaged communities. The result is both lost educational opportunities for students and an under-supply of future skilled workers prepared for roles that need to be filled by our businesses in order to create a thriving economy.

An Act to expand the capacity  of career technical schools  and programs. HD 1435 introduced by Rep. Frank Moran. SD 1303 introduced by Sen. Eric Lesser

This omnibus bill would expand  access to career technical education in a variety of different  ways:  

  1. A major bonding authorization to renovate, expand,  and build new vocational  technical schools. 
  2. Establishing a Career Technical Education Funding Commission to advise on best ways to proceed on  renovating, expanding, and/ or building new schools. 
  3. Allowing longer term leas ing of facilities available so  schools can move quickly to  expand.
  4. Establishing a Deputy Commissioner of Career Technical  Education and an Office of  Career Technical Education at DESE.
  5. Eliminating the current one year delay in state funding to  cover the costs of increased  enrollments in regional vocational technical schools.
  6. Empowers communities in  a regional vocational school  district to add school building  debt payments above their  levy limit so they do not have  to choose between modernizing these schools and other  budget needs.
  7. Expands seats on the School  Building Authority’s Advisory  Committee to include representatives from AVTE and the  MA Association of Vocational  Administrators.

An act to increase student access to career technical  education schools and programs which are aligned with  regional labor market needs.  HD 946 introduced by Rep. Lipper-Garabedian SD 470 introduced by Sen. Jason Lewis

This bill takes two of the provisions from the above bill and puts them in this bill as an  additional vehicle to move these  administrative issues forward:

  1. Establishing a Career Technical Education Funding  Commission to advise on best  ways to proceed on renovating, expanding, and/or building new schools. 
  2. Establishing a Deputy Com missioner of Career Technical  Education and an Office of  Career Technical Education at  DESE.

For more information, contact the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education:  Tim Murray, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce tmurray@worcesterchamber.org Kevin Farr, MA Alliance of Vocational Administrators KevinFarr@mava.us Robert Baldwin, MA Association of School Superintendents rbaldwin@fairhavenps.net Kathie Mainzer, Workforce Solutions Group KMainzer@strategygroupinc.com Marybeth Campbell, Worcester Community Action Council mcampbell@wcac.net Lew Finfer, MA Communities Action Network LewFinfer@gmail.com 

January 1, 2020

A Bill to increase access and funding for vocational technical education

House Bill 3756:An Act to Increase Student Access to Career Technical Education Schools and Programs which are aligned with regional labor market needs

Lead Sponsors State Senator Jason Lewis and State Representative Paul Brodeur  , a joint petition and others relative to career technical education schools and programs.

Background:   Massachusetts faces an acute skills gap and employers are challenged with finding qualified talent across nearly every sector and region of the state.   At the same time, our state’s CTE high schools and programs have a vast footprint across the Commonwealth, and are teaching timely competencies that match the skills required for jobs in demand from advanced manufacturing, healthcare, building trades and engineering, innovation and technology, and more. Our existing CTE schools and programs have been validated by employers for decades as a talent pipeline, yet they are not available to the majority of students.

Challenge:  CTE enrollment has grown in the past decade, however, the capital infrastructure, financing mechanisms, and governance of our schools has not evolved to meet our workforce needs and, as a result, schools are challenged to serve more than 20-25% of the state’s enrolled high school population.

Opportunity: To facilitate this needed capacity, H3756 offers a set of proposed solutions. HD 3279 will help expand access to state Chapter 74-approved CTE programs for more students, provide incentives to partnerships that increase potential for achievements in college and career, and develop effective tools to increase capacity to maximize outcomes for students, businesses and communities.

This bill would:

Integrate Career Technical Education (CTE) more explicitly into the mission of the DESE by appointing a Deputy Commissioner for Career Technical Education and establishing an Office of Career Technical Education to focus solely on elevating CTE as a critical pathway.

Policy News and Updates – July 18, 2017
Final State Budget Invests in Talent Pipelines

Thanks for all your advocacy around the state budget!  Both the Conference Committee and the Governor approved our priority investments in job training and workforce development.   In such a tight budget year, with fewer than expected revenues, this is a strong outcome.   The Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund and Learn to Earn were funded at $1 million each for job sector training.  Learn to Earn is a new initiative targeted for people with long term barriers to employment.

YouthWorks and School to Career Connecting Activities were essentially level funded (the Governor vetoed some earmarks).  Youth employment continues to struggle around our state and we need to continue to bolster both state and private investments in youth jobs programs.We thank all legislators, House and Senate leadership, and Governor Baker and his team for these critical investments.  Employers are struggling to find skilled workers and these programs will build and support training pipelines to ensure our economy continues to grow and people are able to advance their skills and careers.

Click here for the  WSG Budget Chart with line item information.

WCTF & WTF Bill Moves Forward!

We are thrilled to report that An Act to Diversify Use of the Workforce Training Fund to Support the WCTF (S2109/H3804)  received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce.  We thank Chairs Jason Lewis and Paul Brodeurfor their leadership and we thank Committee members for their support.  The bill is now being considered by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and we welcome your letters of support to the Committee.

For a fact sheet on the bill click here.
Click here to contact the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Filed by the late Senator Ken Donnelly and Representative Joseph Wagner, the bill would allow up to 5% of the Workforce Training Fund to be used for pipeline training, and would match those employer contributions with state dollars to enable up to $2.2 million per year to be used to upskill people for vacant jobs.  The bill has garnered widespread support from employer groups, labor unions, and community based organizations.

For more information  please contact Kathie Mainzer at 617-263-3344.

Bill to Improve Training and Education Outcomes Needs Your Support
currently under review by the Joint Committee on Higher Education.
Filed by the late Senator Ken Donnelly, the bill would make outcome data like wage attainment and college completion rates available to consumers on a timely basis to better inform consumer choices and options.  It would give policy makers new tools to better inform the state’s workforce and education planning strategies.

The bill is supported by the National Skills Coalition Workforce Data Quality Campaign: you can read their testimony here .

Here is  our fact sheet on the bill and why it would improve quality education and training programs in Massachusetts.  Please send letters supporting the bill to: Rosalind.Jordan@mahouse.gov.

For more information please contact Kathie Mainzer  at 617-263-3344.