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$70 million set aside for Career and Technical Education

The 2021 North Dakota legislature approved $70 million in COVID-19 relief money to be used for Career and Technical Education centers.

Now, the state CTE board is working on criteria for granting that money.

"We want to make sure that the programs offered in these new CTE facilities align with workforce needs, and align with what the students are desiring," said state CTE director Wayde Sick. "We want to make sure there is post-secondary partnerships, so students can be awarded dual credit, and college-age students have access to those facilities.

Sick said the facilities should also be open to those already in the workforce.

"Let's allow employers to have access to it, so they can train their employees up," Sick said.

Sick said the CTE Board wants to get some of the money out the door as soon as possible, but have enough still available for further applications.

"There's going to be a lot of work that has to be done to submit those applications, as far as engaging employers, students and finding spaces," Sick said. "They have to have a plan on what the space looks like, and the estimated cost.

Sick said the biggest thing is finding matching money. He said the Legislature is requiring a dollar-for-dollar match.

"I really have zero concerns that we won't be able to use the funding," Sick said. "Now we're getting into the point of, are we going to run out of dollars before all the needs are met."

Sick said high schools have to offer CTE programs, either on-line or through a brick-and-mortar facility. But he said the issue is what courses are provided.

"If you go to a typical small town high school, you're going to see an agricultural education program and a family consumer science program, maybe a business program," Sick said. "They are great programs. But if you have a student that's interested in information technology, or welding, those may be a part of the programs offered, but are not specific to those areas."

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