June 19, 2015
ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson today expressed her support for the Middle School Technical Education Program (STEP) Act, S. 1609, introduced by Senators Kaine (D-VA), Boxer (D-CA), Warner (D-VA) and Whitehouse (D-RI) on June 18, 2015. The bill would create a pilot program through the U.S. Department of Education to enable partnerships of school districts, postsecondary institutions and business partners to develop career exploration programs specifically for middle school students.
“Career exploration is truly of critical importance, because it can help students to identify where their passion and skills align through experiential learning,” said Wilson. “By encouraging institutions to create those opportunities for middle school students during such a formative time in their educational career, we can help them to get excited about their coursework and empower them to make smart choices about their future.”
The bill requires that the career exploration opportunities be aligned with a qualifying CTE program of study, which will ensure that students have access to the necessary educational programs to build on their experiences through a proven strategy for success. Furthermore, by including postsecondary institutions and representatives from the business community in the planning process, the legislation ensures that programs establish meaningful connections between program curriculum and its real-world applications.