Fourteen school districts in Kansas received bonus income last week when Gov. Sam Brownback presented checks to those schools that had graduates who earned an industry-recognized technical certificate in addition to their high school diploma.
The Career and Technical Education program, an initiative that is part of the Governor's Road Map goal to increase the number of high school graduates who are college and career ready, provides $1,000 for each graduate who is also job-certified.
The program also covers students' tuition cost for technical courses in occupations that have been identified by the Kansas Secretary of Labor in consultation with the Board of Regents and the Board of Education as fields in need of additional labor.
Districts who earned checks include Kansas City, Olathe, Gardner-Edgerton, Shawnee Mission, Pittsburg, Chanute, Baxter Springs, Renwick, Maize, Wichita, Circle, Hutchinson, Newton and McPherson.
The CTE program was originally the brain child of the Kansas Workforce Summit, sponsored annually by the Western Kansas Manufacturer's Association. In January of 2013, the Workforce Summit presented an award to Brownback to thank him for backing the initiative.
WKMA executive director Eddie Estes emphasized that the initiative is about urging school districts to focus on "hire" education in addition to "higher" education.
The incentive program allows students to attend classes at area vocational or technical colleges at the same time they are working on their high school diploma with a goal of being ready to accept a job in a labor-short field the day after graduation.
In addition to moving qualified candidates into needed jobs, the program provides a good-paying job to help students who might not otherwise be able to afford to continue their education to complete a bachelor's degree.