The Senate E-12 Policy Committee passed a bill last week that would extend time funding for certain pupils enrolled in career and technical education. Sen. Gary Dahms authored the bill, SF 3125.

Testifiers spoke about a welding class offered in MREA member district Fairmont Public Schools. Fairmont holds the classes on Saturdays, outside the current school hours for students. Download the presentation to learn more about the program.

Currently 16 students take the class. They spoke about the shortage of workers in many of the technical fields and how that trend is going to do nothing but continue.

The proposed outside of day class will increase opportunities for students. A local company moved into the area and has already doubled in size and part of that is due to the fact they were able to hire students from the current welding class.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) testified that the Commissioner likes to give flexibility and create more opportunities. They did note that the proposal could veer away from the intended purpose of extended time revenue.

Sen. Dahms replied that sometimes people need to think outside the box but is open to working with the Department on the language.

Sen. Greg Clausen offered an amendment to include STEM in the proposed changes to an extended day. Sen. Dahms agreed that was a good idea, the amendment was adopted, and the bill passed on to the Senate Education Finance committee.

MREA supports the efforts of member district Fairmont to extend this opportunity across the state.  Fairmont Superintendent Joe Brown presented on this program at the 2017 MREA Annual Conference.  Download the presentation.