New law says stu­dents must be told about skilled la­bor, mil­i­tary ca­reers

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Monte Wha­ley Monte Wha­ley: 720-929-0907, mwha­ley@den­ver­post.com or @mon­te­wha­ley

A law that goes into ef­fect Wed­nes­day man­dates pub­lic schools in Colorado must in­form high school stu­dents that not all post­sec­ondary paths lead to col­lege.

School coun­selors also must tell stu­dents about jobs as skilled la­bor­ers and mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

“A four-year col­lege de­gree may be a good fit for some,” said Phil Co­var­ru­bias, the Brighton Repub­li­can and owner of an ex­ca­va­tion com­pany who spon­sored House Bill 1041. “But I want stu­dents to know that there’s great op­por­tu­nity in trade schools and through mil­i­tary ser­vice that doesn’t re­quire the enor­mous cost of tu­ition at uni­ver­si­ties.”

The bill re­quires that each stu­dent’s In­di­vid­ual Ca­reer and Aca­demic Plan in­clude in­for­ma­tion about the var­i­ous ca­reer path­ways avail­able to them, and the types of cer­tifi­cates and jobs to which each path­way leads.

The law will help rein­tro­duce skilled trades to high school stu­dents, who can earn early ap­pren­tice­ships and ex­po­sure to good-pay­ing jobs right af­ter grad­u­a­tion, Co­var­ru­bias said.

Schools in Colorado should not have any prob­lems im­ple­ment­ing the new law, said Matt Cook, direc­tor of pub­lic pol­icy and ad­vo­cacy for the Colorado As­so­ci­a­tion of School Boards.

“A num­ber of school dis­tricts al­ready in­clude in­for­ma­tion about skilled jobs and pos­si­ble mil­i­tary ser­vice in a stu­dent’s aca­demic plans,” Cook said. “This law just makes it more uni­form around the state.”

A 2015 sur­vey by the Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics and the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Home Builders said there are 143,000 va­cant con­struc­tion po­si­tions na­tion­wide, and 69 per­cent of the mem­bers sur­veyed were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing de­lays in com­plet­ing projects due to a short­age of work­ers.

Af­ter a drop from 2009 to 2012, en­roll­ment in ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses has surged in Colorado with more than 125,000 high school­ers and 20,000 mid­dle school­ers en­rolling in 2015.

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