Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday merging the state’s two high school career and technical education systems. Previously, the Kentucky Department for Workforce Investment operated 53 Area Technology Centers across the state, while 34 schools districts oversaw their own career and technical centers.
Dale Winkler, executive director of the unified office, says around three-quarters of high school students take career/technical classes. He says the merger will lead to more rigorous classes.
“We did have two sets of curriculum. So if you went to a locally operated center you might not get the same curriculum as if you went to an Area Technology Center," said Winkler. "Now we’re combining and there’s going to be one curriculum that’s going to have a lot of input from industry and tell us what is really needed for our future.”
Winkler says the merger will also help consolidate some administrative costs and should reduce confusion among stakeholders. An advisory committee will help develop and implement the career and technical education programs.