Nebraska remains end state not to provide increased, designated funding for career and technical education

Nebraska remains end state not to provide increased, designated funding for career and technical education
Nebraska remains end state not to provide increased, designated funding for career and technical education

Nebraska is the only state that does not provide designated increased funding for vocational and technical education.

It’s a problem that heads of state are only catching up with, as they realize the impact that funding for vocational and technical education (CTE) is not only having on schools, but also on the workforce. work.

Katie Graham, director of the Nebraska Department of Education’s CTE office, spoke at the August 9 state board meeting about the lack of earmarked or designated funding for CTE in the state.

Graham said Nebraska receives federal funds from the ETC of the Perkins V Grant each year. Population. Due to Nebraska’s smaller population size, it receives a lesser amount of Perkins V federal funds than some other states.

Nebraska is estimated to receive $7.9 million in Perkins V funds for the next fiscal year, Graham said.

Once the state receives the money from the Perkins V, it is split between state funds and local funds. Local funds are then split even further between secondary (high schools) and post-secondary (colleges), leaving just $3.4 million this year for about 240 high schools across the state.

Post-secondary institutions receive less ETC funding than secondary institutions.

However, the issue of ETC funding is not a federal issue, it is a state issue.

One website that has been getting more attention lately in Nebraska is ED Build, which tracks school funding across the country. The site has a map that shows which states are designating and providing increased funding for the ETC, and Nebraska is featured as the only state that does not.

“In this case, it’s not a great card to call,” Graham said.

“It’s a major problem”

Mike Johnson, vice president of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, said providing designated CTE funding in the state would help individuals find high-paying jobs.

“Manufacturing jobs are usually some of the best jobs you can get right out of school. These are usually full-time jobs with benefits – these are great, well-paying jobs,” Johnson said.

But the ETC’s designated funding shortfall doesn’t just affect individuals. It also affects the entire state, according to Kirk Penner, a member of the state board of education.

Penner told the education council meeting that the CTE funding issue also affects workforce development.

“We all know we’re in a labor shortage everywhere,” Penner said. “I own a manufacturing plant (and) if I lose my welder, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Penner said one way to address Nebraska’s labor shortage would be to provide extended funding for CTE students.

“It’s a major problem in the state. … We have a captive audience that we can catch,” Penner said, “and we can get them exploring and interested in skilled jobs that will pay $100,000 a year if they just go to a two-year school.

Scott Volk, vice president of MetalQuest Unlimited, said providing designated funding for CTE would also help the nation, not just Nebraska.

Volk said it was difficult for companies to be self-sufficient and supply products because the majority of manufacturing jobs remain outside the United States, especially as conflicts continue to arise outside the country. .

“And it’s a lot bigger than Nebraska, but it boils down to: we need more manufacturing here in the United States. And the only way to do that is to have more qualified people for those jobs,” Volk said.

CTE programs in Nebraska schools have many challenges that could be alleviated with designated funding, according to CTE leaders. And one of those challenges is the high cost of maintaining CTE programs.

Graham said CTE programs often cost more than regular classes due to the smaller number of students enrolled.

But, Volk said, CTE programs are also more expensive because of the equipment needed, such as tractors and welding equipment.

“For a student to learn to be a machinist, you have to buy tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment,” Volk said. “It’s obviously a lot more than a lot of other programs, and that’s where funding is so crucial.”

Johnson said funding for CTE teachers is also scarce. High school instructors can be hard to find, and even when found, it is difficult to repay them sufficiently with the funds provided.

“If schools had more funds to pay instructors, I think we would have more instructors and therefore we would have more students going through these types of programs,” Johnson said. “And then we should have more people available to fill the great jobs that are open right now.”

Volk said there are still plenty of schools that don’t have any type of CTE program. However, providing increased and designated funding would help create more CTE programs across the state.

“Since there’s no money specifically set aside for CTE, it really impacts programs,” Volk said.

The lack of designated and prolonged funding may seem like a daunting issue, but leaders hope it will be further discussed and even implemented in the Legislative Assembly in the years to come.

Penner told the board of education meeting that he already has state senators interested in supporting designated CTE funds.

“There’s a lot of interest in this because it’s a huge problem,” Penner said.

Johnson said he was optimistic about the future of the ETC’s increased funding as discussions begin to heat up.

“I’m really glad these conversations are happening,” Johnson said. “And I think that just creates a great environment for something to potentially be done at the state level, to match or multiply those federal funds that are coming in.”

. Nebraska rest state final not provide funding increased designated for education professional technical news

. Nebraska remains state provide increased designated funding career technical education

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