PICTURED LEFT TO RIGHT – Prince George County Supervisor Bill Robertson, Governor Terry McAuliffe, King and Queen County Supervisor Sherrin Alsop and VACo Executive Director Jim Campbell
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on January 11 a series of proposals intended to improve public schools, enhance the workforce system and prepare public school students for a changing economy. Increased K-12 Public Education Funding is VACo’s overarching legislative priority for the 2016 General Assembly Session.
The Governor proclaimed that his legislative agenda for public education is “designed to lay the foundation for future economic growth by reorienting our education and training approach to meet the demands of the 21st Century employers.”
Below is a summary of the Governor’s legislative proposals announced at the press conference.
Redesigning high school for the 21st century
-Requires the Board of Education to establish new expectations for high school graduates and changes the way credits are earned for graduation.
-Puts a greater emphasis on hands-on learning, early college courses and industry credentials while maintaining rigorous standards.
Career and Technical Education Teachers
-Enables schools to hire current and retired industry experts as temporary or part-time Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers.
-Will help to fill empty teaching positions while giving students the unique opportunity to gain critical CTE training from skilled professionals in high-demand industries.
Academic credit for previous certifications
-Enables students to receive academic credit for previously-earned industry certifications when pursuing a community college degree.
-Allows community college students to build on prior experience instead of having to repeat coursework.
Paving the way for high-demand workforce credentials
-Require the development of a plan and a funding formula to support the $24.6 million budget proposal to increase the number of high-demand workforce credentials awarded each year.
-Provides for progress reports to ensure the goals are being met.
-Ensures that state-supported industry certifications and licenses are aligned with business and industry needs so that more Virginians can access well-paying jobs.
Restructuring financial aid
-Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program will provide enhanced awards for students enrolled in at least 30 credit hours of coursework over the course of the year, including summers.
-Extends eligibility for financial aid to young people who are not defined as dependents, such as foster children and homeless youth.
-Incentivizes students to complete more credits over the course of a year and increases their chances of on-time graduation.
Veterans with medical experience
-Establishes a pilot project through the Department of Veterans Services that will enable former military medics and corpsmen to use their skills in health care careers while earning civilian credentials.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE