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February 15, 2017

CONNECT Act passed by Senate Education Committee

The business community and policymakers, including the office of Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, have been teaming up over the past year to shore up Georgia's talent pipeline. To this end, State Senator Lindsey Tippins this session introduced the “Creating Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training (CONNECT) Act.  Senate bill 3 provides high school students additional opportunities to obtain industry credentials in fields that align with critical workforce needs.  The legislation also establishes a grant program which would support workforce initiatives and teacher training in credentaling programs.  Career awareness for middle and high school students is also addressed in the bill, including career demand inventories - critical information students need when considering their post-secondary education and career options.

During a recent committee hearing on SB 3, representatives of several trade organizations spoke on behalf of the legislation including the Georgia Association of Manufacturers and Associated General Contractors of Georgia.  Educators and their associations also spoke to the need for stronger credentialing programs and career counseling at the middle and high school levels.  Dr. Barbara Wall, who heads the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) division of the state Education department, expressed a desire that students receive college credit along with credentials. The Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education (GACTE)  and the Agriculture Teachers Association also weighed in supporting the legislation citing the positive impact of CTAE on graduation rates.