Senate panel takes up Proos’ STEM, in-demand jobs bills

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Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Education Committee on Tuesday heard from Sen. John Proos and Kinexus CEO Todd Gustafson on Proos’ legislation to give Michigan students a leg up on earning a job in a high-skilled career.

“Although Michigan’s economy is growing and creating jobs, many positions remain unfilled,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “A key factor in our skilled jobs gap is a lack of focus on training and education in fields where positions exist. This is about taking the next step in providing available job information to our students so that they may choose their path of success.”

Senate Bill 344 would allow a student to receive a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) certification as an incentive for taking additional STEM courses. If the bill is enacted, Michigan would be the first state to allow such a STEM certification opportunity.

“It is great that Michigan is a leader in allowing students to focus their education on these key fields,” Proos said. “This certification is an excellent way to reward students who take extra STEM classes and highlight their accomplishments — while also giving them a competitive advantage in landing a well-paying job.”

Proos’ other legislation, SB 343, would require school districts and public school academies to provide students with the most recent available analysis of in-demand occupations for the economic forecast region in which the school or public school academy is located. The analyses are created for the regions by the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

“By including exposure to in-demand occupations in the educational development plans and beginning the conversation at an early age, Michigan students will have a jump start in considering how they can use their high school education toward achieving a meaningful career,” Gustafson said. “Michigan’s labor supply is strong with 16.7 percent of all degree completers in STEM, which is slightly higher than the national average of 14.2 percent. We can build on this great foundation to address the talent shortages of today and avoid similar challenges in the future.”

Residents can see the current “Hot Jobs” outlook for Southwest Michigan by clicking here. The careers with the highest projected growth from 2014 to 2024 in the region are: market research analysts and marketing specialists (27.1 percent growth), personal financial advisors (23.7 percent) and industrial machinery mechanics (23.2 percent).

“This information can be a tremendous resource for those looking for work, people considering a career change and especially students contemplating a career path.” Proos said. “My legislation would ensure that every Michigan high school student receives this information for their area. It’s all about helping all Michigan students make the best decisions they can about their education and their future.”

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.