Last week Gov. Steve Beshear signed Senate Bill 38 (SB 38), a measure aimed at providing a career pathway process for secondary education in Kentucky. Through a more rigorous academic focus on career and technical education (CTE), the bill provides for a career-based program of study to make students’ high school years more relevant to their futures as working adults.

SB 38 requires the Kentucky Department of Education to issue core content standards for career and technical education, assess student progress and develop new courses relevant to college and career readiness. It provides a process to assess at-risk students and provide evidence-based programs to help students learn, stay in school and be successful in their transition to postsecondary education or the workplace.

The legislation connects with Kentucky’s current focus on individualized instruction in order to best meet all students’ needs and goals and aims to help students see the direct connection between education and jobs.

The Career Pathways bill complements other CTE initiatives currently underway in Kentucky to ensure students are college and career ready. For example, the new college- and career-readiness measure in the state’s accountability model includes an academic component and a technical skill component. A dual credit agreement allows CTE students to earn college credit in high school courses.

Kentucky is collaborating with the Southern Regional Education Board to develop new career pathways through an initiative called Preparation for Tomorrow. Kentucky continues its work on CTE curriculum alignment with common core standards to create a new model of CTE emphasizing innovation, integration of core academics, 21st-century skills and project-based learning.