For a high school senior, the world is full of opportunities; and can be a bit overwhelming. What am I going to do after I graduate from high school? Find a job? Go to college? How can I best prepare for my future? There are a lot of questions that need to be asked that graduates must answer. Whether you have a plan or not, there needs to be a system in place to help high school students realize their future aspirations.
Knowing what qualifications or certifications are required for certain jobs, specifically in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields, can seem like a daunting endeavor. There has been the lack of communication between what certifications employers are looking for and how to connect that information with high school students.
To address this problem, I supported a bill that the governor signed into law recently which creates the Indiana Works Councils. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 465 establishes multiple councils to address the skills gap by aligning educational and vocational training qualifications with what employers are looking for when hiring a prospective employee.
Assigned to specific geographic regions, the various Works Councils will evaluate career, technical and vocational opportunities available to high school students in those areas. The councils will then compile that comprehensive evaluation and submit it to local high schools by November 1 of this year. In doing so, this information enables high school students to know what opportunities are available and how to access them.
Additionally, SEA 465 permits the councils to develop an alternative career, technical or vocational curriculum which they must submit to the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) for approval by Dec. 31. Once the curriculum is approved by the SBOE, students will have the chance to pursue those alternative internships and apprenticeships earning credits toward an associate degree or working to obtain industry specific certifications. This will better prepare those students to obtain a high wage, high demand job that is available in their area.
Ultimately, by making resources and information available, this better enables students to make decisions that will lead them towards a career of their choosing. I understand (as it wasn’t that long ago) that being unsure about what path to take can make the world seem a little overwhelming. For this reason, Indiana is taking steps to ensure that when students embark on their journey, they can do so confidently and in a direction that leads to success.