Committee votes unanimously in favor of Herbig bill to invest in Maine career and technical education
AUGUSTA — A bill from Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, to invest in career and technical education centers in Maine received bipartisan committee support on Wednesday. The Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee voted unanimously in favor of LD 2022, “An Act To Provide Funding for Capital Improvements and Equipment for Career and Technical Education Centers and Regions.”
“By supporting local training for local jobs, we help businesses find the skilled employees they need and help students chart a pathway to their own success in our local economy,” said Sen. Herbig. “The staff at our career and technical education centers do a tremendous job, but many of them are having to work with equipment that’s grossly out of date. I’m thankful my colleagues agree that our CTE centers prepare our students for success in the workforce and give Maine’s economy a real boost.”
As amended by the committee, LD 2022 would authorize the Commissioner of Education to expend and disburse $4 million to career and technical education (CTE) centers and career and technical education regions to make targeted capital improvements and equipment purchases. This funding would be on top of any other funding for career and technical centers set in the state’s supplemental budget.
There are 27 CTE centers in Maine that serve more than 8,000 high school students and many more in adult education programs. If legislation is successful this session, it will be the first time CTE has received an increase in funds for equipment and capital improvements since 1998.
“This important bill would allow much needed enhancements to our CTE programming and school, by upgrading equipment that is often twenty years of age, if not older, as well as improving the facilities in these learning areas,” said Keven Michaud of the Waldo County Technical Center, in testimony supporting the bill. “With such infrastructure upgrades in place, WCTC students would be able to better meet the proficiency standards within their selected programs, as well as hone ‘cutting edge’ skills in a safer, industry-like environment.”
The bill now faces votes before the Maine Senate and House.