A ‘career’ diploma for Nevada’s students | NevadaAppeal.com

A ‘career’ diploma for Nevada’s students

Nevada Appeal editorial board

The only question we have about a bill to boost vocational education in Nevada schools is whether $6 million is enough.

The programs we’ve seen at Carson High School – such as culinary arts and welding – are among the best alternatives available anywhere for students who don’t plan to attend college. (That’s something of an overgeneralization, though, as Western Nevada Community College provides some excellent career-oriented programs, too.)

The image of “shop class” as second-class education should be long gone by now, especially in Nevada, where craftsmen skills are in high demand for a booming population and soaring economy.

Don’t get us wrong. We’re all in favor of academic excellence and the millions of dollars the state pumps into Millennium Scholarships, for example, because a well-educated work force will attract increasingly sophisticated industries and better-paying jobs.

Nevertheless, there are trade skills – requiring a fundamental education in math, science and English – that provide equally rewarding career paths and are just as important to the state’s development.

With the education for those trades available in high schools, students who see no future in academia will have powerful incentives to remain in school and obtain their high-school diplomas.

Assembly Bill 406, introduced by Reno Republican Brooks Holcomb, is getting a welcome reception as it is considered by legislative committees.

More important than the funding, the bill establishes a new diploma high schools may award – a career and technical education advanced diploma – if a student completes a program laid out by the state Board of Occupational Education.

It would give “shop class” a status never before recognized in Nevada, but worth the investment.