Local schools hope to receive close to $500,000 of the $20 million, made available through legislation introduced by state Sen. Jack Scott. Assemblywomen Carol Liu also introduced a successful bill that forces high schools to be more accountable for vocational and technical programs -- to take some of the burden off of strapped community colleges.
The $500,000 would go toward such local programs as streamlining an engineering curriculum that integrates Clark Magnet High School's program with Glendale Community College and Cal State Northridge.
The interaction between schools, especially in a city where a major community college is a close resource for graduating seniors, is vital.
The grant money could be used to develop new connections that promote vocational education between colleges and high schools, said Mike Seaton, director of instructional support services at the Glendale Unified School District.
Of course, even after a decade of resurging enrollment in vocational programs, such education faces obstacles, much of it in simply how such programs are perceived.
If decision-makers are truly interested in the future of students, they would do well also to perhaps use some of this money to help dispel myths about vocational education.
Four-year colleges are not always the answer for students whose talents might flourish in a culinary trade, or multi-media trades, which also contribute greatly to society. Parents who have their hearts set on little Johnny or Jane becoming Dr. Johnny or Dr. Jane need to realize that vocational educational is not for "dummies" -- that there are plenty of students who probably should not be attending a university simply because their skills, their interests lie elsewhere. And many don't. In California, for instance, only 20% of graduating seniors go on to four-year college, Liu told the News-Press this week.