New legislation aims to help skilled worker shortage


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — When your car breaks down you call a mechanic, but they are becoming more difficult to find.

So are other skilled workers, like electricians, plumbers  and welders.

They are needed to sustain the shipbuilding business in Hampton Roads.

Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) reports more than half of all skilled trade workers are over the age of 45.

The answer to this midlife crisis may be in middle school, according to Senator Tim Kaine.

“We can give kids exposure to career and technical fields and that can help them start to determine what their own future interests might be.”  

This week the Senate passed an updated version of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act.

It gives money to schools every year for things like vo-techs you usually associate with high schoolers. 

It now emphasizes younger students.

“We expect high schoolers to start making curricular choices to position themselves for either career or college but frankly, kids just don’t know enough about the workforce in high school to make meaningful choices to know really what they might want to do.”

Every year the state allocates federal funds to local school districts.

The Virginia Department of Education estimates Hampton Roads school districts will receive a total of more than $4 million in 2018-19 school year.

10 On Your Side is still waiting to hear how they might use it, but Kaine says some should go to recruiting the best teaches and
 getting kids excited to learn about these career options.

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