Senate approves bills to allow Michigan diplomas to be nation’s first with STEM certification

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LANSING—Michigan students would get a leg up on earning a job in a high-skilled career or continuing their education under legislation approved by the state Senate on Thursday.

Senate Bills 169 and 170, sponsored by Sens. John Proos and Phil Pavlov, would allow a student to receive a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) certification on their high school diploma. The STEM endorsement could also be visible on student transcripts for future technical training, community college and college application review.

“Michigan’s economy is growing and creating jobs, yet many of these positions remain unfilled. In fact, there will be more than 250,000 STEM-related jobs in Michigan in the next two years,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This initiative is the next step in ensuring Michigan students are prepared for success and to meet our growing skilled-workforce needs. We worked together to enact legislation last year that encourages schools to establish programs that award credit toward a college degree or an industry-recognized professional certificate.

“I am proud that we are giving students a chance to receive on-the-job training, and this certification is an excellent way to highlight a student’s accomplishments.”

If the bills are enacted, Michigan would be the first state in the nation to allow such a STEM certification opportunity.

“We recognize that education is unique to each child, and we have worked hard to ensure our schools give every student a chance for a successful career,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair, chair of the Senate Education Committee. “STEM fields of education are rigorous areas of study that are critical to our national defense, our strong automotive industry, our economy and in preparing future generations for success.

“Allowing students to earn this STEM certification and place it on their diplomas and transcripts will help them improve their college resume, give them a competitive advantage in landing a well-paying job and ensure Michigan closes the skills gap facing employers.”

Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly called for an increased focus on STEM education in Michigan. Rep. Amanda Price is the bill sponsor in the House of Representatives, and the bills now head to the House for consideration.

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Editor’s Note: The above photo of Proos is available by clicking on the image or by visiting Proos’ website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.