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Transitioning from high school to work

Published (3/2/2012)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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By the ninth grade, all young people should be making plans for what they’ll do after graduating from high school.

“It is projected that 70 percent of the jobs will require some form of post-secondary education … students need to know their options, and without a plan it is hard to know what is next,” said Bryan Lindsley, executive director of the Governor’s Workforce Development Council, during the Feb. 28 House Education Reform Committee.

Rep. Carol McFarlane (R-White Bear Lake) and Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) sponsor HF1272/ SF1073*, which encourages school districts to seek funding and develop a plan for helping students make a successful transition to post-secondary education and employment. The committee approved the bill and it now awaits action on the House floor. The Senate passed the bill 48-12 on Feb. 20.

The measure comes from the council established to “forge practical solutions to Minnesota’s workforce challenges.” It is part of its All Hands on Deck report recently submitted to the governor.

McFarlane emphasized this is a recommendation and not a mandate. Rep. Tom Tilberry (DFL-Fridley) is concerned that with tight school budgets, rural schools would have a hard time implementing a program that may need more school counselors.

The bill, however, has bipartisan support.

“I really think it is necessary, and most schools are trying to accommodate what is in the bill,” said Rep. Sandra Peterson (DFL-New Hope). “Many of our students graduate with no idea of what courses they need. It is a whole different world today, and the jobs are very different. … It is just time we do this.”

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