On January 24, 2023, Associate Policy Director Brianna January testified in support of SB 0121 – More Opportunities for Career – Focused Students Act of 2023. in the Senate Energy, Education, and the Environment Committee.
By obligating county boards of education to classify qualifying certifications or apprenticeships as the equivalent of pursuing post-secondary education, SB 0121 elevates alternative career paths for which there is acute demand in the current labor market. The bill would require schools to pay the exam fees for trade skills and apprenticeship certifications, provided they already do so for college preparatory courses, and would require them to help connect students with vocational apprenticeship and career opportunities, like they do for colleges and universities.
The bill is sponsored by Senator Jim Rosapepe, a long-time leader in workforce development and post-secondary alternatives to college. The bill fully passed the Senate last year, but stalled in the House.
From the MACo Testimony:
Maryland counties have historically supported alternative education and career paths but doing so has recently become even a greater priority for local governments in response to the shifting labor market and workforce demands. Counties, like other employers, continue to face a shortage of vocational trade staff to hire or contract for critical infrastructure and public works projects. This raises county costs and pushes back project completion on key projects
like building new schools and repairing roads and bridges – and Marylanders suffer for it.
More on MACo’s Advocacy: