Bill helping high school grads set to move to House floor

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JEFFERSON CITY - A bill designed to help high school graduates enter the workforce passed committee unanimously Thursday to move it to the floor of the House. 

The bill would create the career and technical education (CTE) certificate, which students would receive for completing specialized courses. 

The courses would be centered around different skills that students could use to find a job post-graduation, or to bolster their college application.

Rep. Kathryn Swan (R- Cape Girardeau) said she sponsored the bill because it would help fill a need in the job market.

“Employers around the state are looking for workers who are prepared, for workers who do not require an associate degree or four year degree,” Swan said. "So, coming out of high school this can be extremely advantageous for an employer to know that students that they’re interviewing has completed a course work of study and has a certificate.”

Missouri’s high school graduation rate has continued to rise during the past few years, going up from 85.7 percent in 2013, to 87.3 percent in 2014.

However, only 65.9 percent of students across the country enrolled in college immediately after graduating high school.

Swan said the bill was created to help those students in the gap.

"What I hope it [the bill] does do is encourage students who know that they want to go to work when they finish school,” Swan said. “Or know that they want specific training, but it may not be college it may be a trade school type of situation, that they have something that they can show an employer.”

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would be responsible for creating the policies for completing the CTE certificate, which would vary by district.