2023 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Horhn
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-153-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT BEGINNING IN FISCAL YEAR 2024 AND SUBJECT TO AVAILABLE FUNDING, THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SHALL DEVELOP AND FUND THE SKILLPATH 2030 PROGRAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF TEACHING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SKILLS RELATED TO THE CAREER AND TECHNICAL FIELDS; TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO ADMINISTER THE PROGRAM; TO PROVIDE FOR THE MINIMUM CERTIFICATIONS THAT THE SKILLPATH 300 PROGRAM SHALL INCLUDE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-153-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-153-15. (1) As used in this article:
(a) The words "industry certification" mean a process through which students are assessed by an independent, third-party certifying entity using predetermined standards for knowledge, skills and competencies, resulting in the award of a credential that is nationally recognized and must be at least one (1) of the following:
(i) Within an industry that addresses a critical local, regional or statewide economic need;
(ii) Linked to an occupation that is included in the State Department of Employment Security's occupations in high-demand list; or
(iii) Linked to an occupation that is identified as emerging.
(b) The words "qualifying industry certification" mean an industry certification that is linked to an occupation with wages of at least seventy percent (70%) of the median state income unless the industry certification is stackable to another postsecondary or professional credential which is linked to an occupation which meets the wage criterion.
(2) The State Workforce Investment Board shall provide the State Board of Education annually with a list of qualifying industry certifications. If the occupations identified in the list are not substantially the same as those occupations identified in the prior year, the State Board of Education shall provide reasonable notice of the changes to school districts.
(3) Beginning in fiscal year 2019-2020 and subject to available funding, the Department of Education shall pay a career and technical education incentive grant to the public school for each student enrolled in the public school who earns a qualifying industry certification. The amount per student for the career and technical education incentive grant shall be Six Hundred Dollars ($600.00). If the statewide sum of the career and technical education incentive grants awarded pursuant to this section exceeds the amount of available funds appropriated for the grants, the grants per student shall be reduced proportionately to cover all eligible grants under this section. Any costs accrued during one (1) fiscal year may be claimed and reimbursed in the following fiscal year.
(4) The grants may be used for qualifying industry certification examination fees, professional development for teachers in career and technical education programs under this section, student instructional support for programs that lead to qualifying industry certifications, or to increase access to qualifying industry certifications. Any grants awarded under this section may not be used to supplant funds provided for the basic operation of the career and technical education programs.
(5) On or before October 1 of each year, the Department of Education, working in collaboration with the Office of Workforce Development and any other entities as necessary, shall submit a report to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chairmen of the House and Senate Education Committees, the Chairman of the House Workforce Development Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Economic and Workforce Development Committee on the following:
(a) The number of students who enrolled in a career and technical education course or program that leads to a qualifying industry certification.
(b) The number of students who earned a qualifying industry certification by certification.
(c) The amount of career and technical education incentive grants awarded by the school.
(d) The amount of career and technical education incentive grants awarded per student.
(e) Aggregated demographic data on the students who earned a qualifying industry certification, including the qualifying industry certifications earned by rural and urban students.
(6) Beginning in fiscal year 2024-2025 and subject to available funding, the Department of Education shall develop and fund the SkillPath 2030 Program for the purpose of teaching high school students skills related to the career and technical fields. The department shall promulgate rules and regulations to administer the program. The SkillPath 300 Program shall include at least the following certifications:
(a) Industrial PLC Systems;
(b) System Based Electronics;
(c) Automotive Electronics;
(d) Certified production technician;
(e) Certified logistics technician;
(f) Certified SolidWorks Associate CAD;
(g) 3D Printing; and
(h) Microsoft Office.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2023.