February is National Career and Technical Education Month. Also known as CTE month, this is a way to recognize the importance of programs that encourage students to explore career opportunities, and the doors it opens to employment. Northeast Indiana enjoys a rich manufacturing history and this industry currently employs almost 30 percent of our area’s workforce. But like our nation and state, our community faces a shortage of skilled tradespeople. As a lawmaker, I want to maintain northeast Indiana’s momentum by supporting legislation that provides more access to CTE.
For the last few decades we steered students toward a four-year degree, but that’s not the only route young Hoosiers can follow to obtain fulfilling, high-paying jobs. CTE courses help prepare students to enter the workforce immediately after high school by learning how core school subjects are used in real-life careers. Students can pursue a career path like manufacturing, with courses in production systems, computer-integrated manufacturing, and machining and plastics processing.
At the forefront of our workforce efforts is encouraging early career exploration and providing comprehensive career navigation to students. Implementing a career engagement, exploration and experience model in appropriate grade levels would give students a better understanding of all available career options upon graduation.
Adding flexibility for schools to partner with local employers to bring in instructors in related industry fields is another important aspect of this legislation. For example, a certified manufacturing machinist, inspector, engineer or line worker could teach without a license if they meet specific occupational and training requirements. Students who participate in these classes could earn credentials that could be applied in jobs after high school.
It is important for us to continue communicating on these issues and more as the legislative session continues. Please contact me anytime to share your thoughts on state issues by emailing email@example.com or calling 317-232-9863. I encourage you to subscribe to my e-newsletter to receive regular updates at www.in.gov/h83. To watch hearings and debates online, visit iga.in.gov.
State Rep. Chris Judy (R-Fort Wayne) represents House District 83,
which includes portions of Allen and Whitley counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.