Alabama high school students would be better prepared to enter the workforce with passage of a bill to provide $50 million in equipment for career tech programs. Sponsored by Rep. Mac Buttram, R-Cullman, HB102 had not been voted on by the Senate at press time.
The state has not provided funding for equipment purchases since 2005, according to State Department of Education Career Tech Director Philip Cleveland. He said Alabama high school graduates struggle in careers or at technical schools after being trained on substandard, outdated machinery.
“We need modern equipment to train students so their transition from high school to community college or industry makes sense,” Cleveland said. “We have (funding for) operations and maintenance. We are going to do a plan so we don’t come back in 10 years and ask for the same thing. We’re going to keep the equipment current.”
Earlier in the legislative session, the bill passed the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee. The House of Representatives voted 93-1 in favor of the bill.
The proposed education budget includes funding for Career Tech Operations and Maintenance at $5 million. Under that proposal, the Career Tech Initiative would receive $2.3 million, with $900,000 earmarked for agriscience programs.
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