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Minutes for SB199 - Committee on Education

Short Title

Creating the AO-K to work program that allows certain adults to earn high school equivalency credentials by participating in career pathway oriented postsecondary classes.

Minutes Content for Wed, Feb 20, 2019

Tamera Lawrence, Office of Revisor of Statutes, provided a brief background on SB199 and fiscal impact as provided in the fiscal note.

Senator Taylor asked for clarification if an AO-K and a GED were the same. Ms. Lawrence responded they were not the same but that these two things are earned at the same time and the state grants both.

Senator Givens asked why age 21 as opposed to 18. He noted that most of the graduates are 18. The Chair stated they would answer this in testimony.

Christopher Stanyer, Vice President of Career Services, Goodwill Industries of Kansas, provided proponent testimony. Mr. Stanyer believes the bill is an effective way to utilize existing Kansas programs and infrastructure to meet growing employer demand for a qualified technical workforce. (Attachment 1)

Mr. Stanyer responded to Senator Givens previous question and stated there are two reasons behind the age requirement. First, he believes this is the age that individuals have the maturity to take on the college level classes. Secondly, he stated 21 is the age that K-12 funding stops.

Mr. Stanyer discussed the program in detail.

Senator Givens questioned again the age requirement of 21 and stated that funding does not stop at 21 but instead stops when the student is no longer enrolled in school or graduates. Senator Givens stated he was on board with the program but felt that they could move more into the workforce if those under 21 were included. Mr. Stanyer responded that the age requirement could be changed, but he didn't want the bill to water down the high school diploma or in direct competition with K-12. He noted that the primary goal is to work with those adults that are ready to go to work right now. Mr. Stanyer discussed his reasons he supports the age requirement further.

Chairperson Baumgardner asked about the twenty adult education programs that has been identified across the state and asked if he felt this program could be made available across the state. Mr. Stanyer responded that accelerated opportunities have been around for some time and noted that the Kansas Board of Regents is pushing for participation in the field. Mr. Stanyer discussed difficulties that students have as well as how industries need the qualified help.

Jason Watkins, appearing for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, provided proponent testimony. He noted that Wichita aviation companies may have headquarters in Wichita, but they have jobs across Kansas. Mr. Watkins noted these companies have unfilled jobs which is a problem for our state. Mr. Watkins discussed the growth of the aviation sector and how these jobs bring fellow Kansans out of poverty.  (Attachment 2)

No questions were presented to Mr. Watkins.

Chairperson Baumgardner noted written testimony in support of SB199 was submitted by: