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Governors Push for Early College and Career Training in Colorado, Michigan, South Carolina

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February 13, 2018 09:56 am


As governors are delivering state of the state addresses across the country, one message rings loud and clear: the need for more career training opportunities and early college experiences for high school students. 

Colorado: Hickenlooper Pushes for Apprenticeship Renaissance

In his January 11 state of the state address, Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper (D) expressed his interest in rethinking and retooling the state’s approach to education to one that includes skill-based training.

Hickenlooper explained that over sixty percent of today’s students will not receive a 4-year-degree, and with new industries emerging at a rapid rate, “we need to get more kids learning skills that matter,” and, more importantly, “we need to do it yesterday.”

Hickenlooper looked to apprenticeships and training as a solution that will help to fill employers’ needs. He referenced Careerwise Colorado, a public-private partnership that connects local companies with K-12 schools and community colleges and training centers, as an example of a program that’s “igniting an apprenticeship renaissance.” The program has been implemented in thirty-one schools across four districts, and has partnered with forty businesses.

“This is on-the-job, skills-training in industries, like business operations, health care, and advanced manufacturing,” Hickenlooper said. “This isn’t your grandparents’ version of apprenticeship.”


Michigan: Snyder Highlights Education Accomplishments in Final State of the State Address

In his final state of the state address on January 23, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) took a trip down memory lane of education accomplishments during his time in office. He highlighted the major progress made on early middle college programs, noting that in 2011, there were only twelve in the state. As of 2017, 136 programs exist across the state. Snyder also noted that, as of 2016, high school students have completed 85,000 college classes, up from 23,000 in 2010.

“Why is this important? This gives our high schoolers exciting challenges to work on, to challenge them to give them new things to think about to give them a head start on college,” Snyder said. “Many of these young people have an opportunity to apply a whole year of college credit before they leave high school. Not only does that give a head start on college that saves a whole year of college costs.”

Snyder also acknowledged the importance of career and technical education, and recognized the Career Pathways Alliance, a public-private partnership with over 120 members, that is bringing employers and educational institutes together and advocating for policy changes that result in career exploration courses and teacher development.


South Carolina: McMaster Calls for Workforce Partnership Between Businesses and Schools

 In his January 24 state of the state address, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) called for the creation of the South Carolina Workforce Partnership, a new initiative that “would connect businesses with high schools and technical colleges to collaborate on internships, dual credit and certificate programs for students interested in the skilled trades.”

McMaster said his interest in investing in workforce development for high school students is driven by an estimated 60,000 jobs that are available throughout the state, and the need for qualified candidates to fill these spots.

“Just as we cannot have a thriving economy without an educated workforce, we cannot have a productive educational system without economic growth,” explained McMaster.

All4Ed research highlights this connection between the economy and education. In South Carolina, increasing the high school graduation rate to 90 percent from 80.3 percent for the Class of 2015 would likely have resulted in an additional $61.3 million in earnings, $47.1 million in spending, and $92.6 million in GDP. Learn more at


Quick Highlights

 Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) called for expanding job training initiatives and technical programs in high schools in her January 16 state of the state address. Raimondo pointed out that “70 percent of jobs in Rhode Island require more training and education than just a high school diploma,” but not all require a four-year degree.

To emphasize this point, Raimondo told the story of a student who recently graduated with a high school diploma and a credential, as part of the career and technical program at his high school. The student went on to a full-time job because of this training.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) touted some of the state’s accomplishments in K-12 education during his January 23 state of the state address, including holding the top spot on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in English and math. He also cited the state’s high school graduation rate at an all-time high while dropout rates remain at an all-time low.

Barker also touched on the expansion of early college programs that allow Massachusetts students to take college-level courses and earn credits in high school. “This prepares students for academic success, reduces their costs and boosts college completion rates,” Baker explained.

Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) highlighted several education priorities in his January 18 state of the state address, including improvements to high-needs schools, the opening of the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the Delaware Department of Education, expanding early learning centers, and Opportunity Grants to get resources into schools that need them most.


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