Gov. Walker in Racine to Sign Tech Ed High School Diploma Bill
Walker visited Multi Products in Racine to sign into law the Technical Education Diploma Bill. Authored by Sen. Van Wanggaard, Walker said the law will help school districts better prepare students for a career in the technical trades.
Job vacancies at Multi Products will hopefully get filled faster now that the technical education high school diploma is state law.
Gov. Scott Walker was in Racine to sign the bill into law at the small engine manufacturer. Authored by state Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and Rep. Mark Radcliffe (D-River Falls), the technical education high school diploma gives school districts the option of creating a curriculum for students who would be better served with careers in the technical trades. Core requirements like math and English would still be required, but students would also take classes and participate in internships for credit,
"This bill prepares students for additional education in the career of their choosing or helps get them career ready by the time they graduate from high school," Walker said.
It's all part of an effort to close the unemployment gap in Racine County, Wanggaard said.
"We've been number one or number two for uemployment the past fifteen years, and that is not acceptable," he stated. "Not every student should go on to a four-year degree, and this tech ed diploma gives those kids a chance to see the opportunities in the technical trades."
Part of the problem, Walker said, echoing remarks he made last month at Racine Metal-Fab, is that manufacturing is almost a dirty word among young people, but it's time to change all that.
"We have to market these jobs, these careers to young people," he said. "There are good, family-supporting jobs in manufacturing, and in some cases, making $50,000 a year, which is more than a new college grad can expect. These are some of the highest paying jobs in the state."
How Racine Unified School District will incorporate a tech ed diploma remains up in the air, but Stacy Tapp, communications director, said staff is doing research about how it might be implemented. The district has a strong technical education tradition like the automotive program at Park High School, which has been recognized for its quality curriculum.
"We need to delve into it a little deeper to see how we could make this a part of our curriculum and then forward our findings to the board," she said. "The district does already have strong technical education opportunities for students at the high school level."
Multi Products President Mark Patzke said he expects to develop new product lines in the near future and thinks students with a tech ed diploma could be part of that future workforce.
"Having semi-skilled or skilled positions like CNC operators and welding could be filled easier," he said. "We will absolutely take this diploma seriously because it makes the pool of potential employees larger as we develop new product lines."