Key Points
  • Understand that college is not the only pathway to success; career-readiness can come from four-year universities, associate or community colleges, or vocational training.
  • Improve the K-12 system through competition, innovation, and school choice.
  • Create regulatory space for educational programs that focus on the future employment needs of industries through education savings accounts.
  • Encourage vocational education programs in the K-12 system and beyond.
  • Encourage apprenticeship and certification programs that allow people to learn new trades in a real-world setting.

American businesses are increasingly worried about the quality of the workforce pool from which they will be hiring. Too few American students are graduating high school or college with the skills employers need. And while college is a pathway to career success for many students, it’s far from the only one.

The first link of the problem is, of course, the K-12 system, which all-too-frequently graduates barely-literate students totally unprepared for almost any job. Good vocational education options, which teach students a skill or trade to support themselves after school, are few and far between. The formal public education system has largely supplanted a historical network of apprenticeships, where those just starting out could learn a trade in exchange for work.

But exciting innovations on the horizon could revolutionize the way employers and students alike think about education, career-readiness, and vocational training.

Education savings accounts, which currently operate in five states and allow parents to choose and customize their children’s educational experiences down to the course level, provide an opportunity for businesses to shape or endorse curriculum, training, and certification options that teach the skills they look for in potential employees.

Legislators and regulators should avoid the siren song of “universal” college attendance, and instead work towards an education system that prepares students for successful career paths as varied as they are.

Model Policies

  • Strategic Workforce Investment Draft

    31          53B-26-101. Title. 32          This chapter is known as “Strategic Workforce Investment.” 33          Section 2. Section 53B-26-102 is enacted to read: 34          53B-26-102. Definitions. 35          As used in this chapter: 36          (1) “College of applied technology” means: 37          (a) a college described in Section 53B-2a-105; 38          (b) [List colleges] …

  • Teacher Quality and Recognition Demonstration Act Sunset Review

    Teacher Quality and Recognition Demonstration Act Summary The need for quality teachers in improving student achievement is generally recognized as one of the most crucial elements of state reform efforts. A primary concern in the quality of the performance of teachers is the forecast for an increasing need …

  • Teacher Choice Compensation Act Sunset Review

    Teacher Choice Compensation Act Summary This act creates a program where by teachers may be eligible for performance-based salary stipends if they opt out of their permanent contract and meet measurable student performance goals based on a value-added test instrument developed by the state department of education. Model …

  • The A-Plus Literacy Act Final

    Chapters of the A-Plus Literacy Act (1) School and District Report Cards and Grades. (2) School Recognition Program to financially reward schools for good/improving Report Card grades. (3) Opportunity Scholarships to provide alternatives for students in schools with poor Report Card grades. (4) Scholarships for Children …

  • Indiana Education Reform Package Final

    Chapters of the Indiana Education Reform Package (1) Charter Schools Act (2) School Scholarships Act (3) Teacher Evaluations and Licensing Act (4) Teacher Collective Bargaining Act (5) Turnaround Academies Act (6) Early Graduation Scholarship Act (7) Textbooks and Other Curricular Material Act   Chapter 1. Charter Schools Act …

  • Great Teachers and Leaders Act Final

    Section 1. {Legislative declaration.} (A) The Legislature hereby declares that: (1) A system to evaluate the effectiveness of licensed personnel is crucial to improving the quality of education in this state and declares that such a system shall be applicable to all licensed personnel in the …

+ All Workforce Development Model Policies

Task Forces

Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development

Members of the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force believe that economic freedom is the cornerstone of prosperity. The …

Education and Workforce Development

The mission of the ALEC Education and Workforce Development Task Force is to promote excellence in the nation’s educational system, …