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

  • Unfunded Pension Liabilities Accounting and Transparency Act Final

    Unfunded Pension Liabilities Accounting and Transparency Act Summary The Legislature finds that the future liabilities of the state’s several post-retirement pension and benefits plans may exceed the ability of these plans to fully pay future claims, possibly requiring taxpayers to make unforeseen future contributions to ensure the solvency of …

  • Teacher Quality Assurance Act Final

    Teacher Quality Assurance Act Summary This model policy prohibits a school district from utilizing a last-hired, first-fired layoff policy when reducing staff. Additionally, the model policy requires the Education Interim Committee, in consultation with the State Board of Education, to study how the performance of teachers may be …

  • Student Futures Program Act Final

    Student Futures Program Act Summary This act creates a career planning program. Model Policy Section 1. Title. This Act shall be known as the “Student Futures Program” Section 2. Definitions. (A) “Education provider” means: (1) {insert state} institution of higher education as defined in {insert …

  • Right to Earn a Living Act Final

    Right to Earn a Living Act Summary Among the rights Americans cherish the most are freedoms to pursue a chosen enterprise or profession. Yet of all the rights we deem fundamental, economic liberty has eroded most of all, to the extent that the …

  • Enhanced Integrity in Public Employee Pension Plan Reporting Final

    Enhanced Integrity in Public Employee Pension Plan Reporting  Summary Under current GAAP for state and local governments some financial statement users may not realize the gravity of failure to address under-funding of state-sponsored pension plans. This Resolution calls upon the relevant standard-setting body, the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), …

  • Strategic Workforce Investment Final

    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] …

+ 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, …