ST. PAUL, MN – On Monday, legislators unveiled a bill to increase vocational and technical training in Minnesota schools. The bipartisan bill, HF1944, creates a VPSEO (Vocational Postsecondary Enrollment Options) pilot program where students take part in technical apprenticeships while gaining credit toward high school graduation.
“Students that don’t plan to attend college should be given the same opportunity to have great careers in a fulfilling job after high school as college-bound students,” said chief author, Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia. “We hear from businesses from across the state that they have job openings, but not enough skilled applicants to fill them. This bill would benefit countless Minnesota students, while helping to fill the skilled labor shortage.”
The bill would split funding with a third going to urban schools, a third to suburban schools, and a third to schools throughout Greater Minnesota.
“There’s a statewide need for skilled labor, and this bill gives students more options to gain valuable training to help them after they graduate,” said Chair of the Education Innovation Policy Committee, Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton.
In 2020, following the pilot program, the commissioner of revenue will report back to the legislature on the effectiveness of the program.
“This pilot program could be the start of putting a greater focus on providing students with technical skills to compete in our changing economy,” said Chair of the Education Finance Committee, Rep. Jen Loon, R-Eden Prairie.
HF1944 has been referred to the Education Innovation Policy Committee where it is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, March 7 at 8:15 a.m.