- Associated Press - Sunday, February 9, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - State lawmakers are looking to boost support of a dual enrollment program that allows high school students to earn college credits in technical fields.

The Montgomery Advertiser (http://on.mgmadv.com/1jnUp1V ) reported Sunday that both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have presented bills to the House Ways and Means Committee to bolster the state’s Career-Technical Dual Enrollment program.

Rep. Mac Buttram, R-Cullman, presented a bill that would provide up to $5 million in tax credits to people and businesses who donate to the career tech scholarship fund - which pays for tuition, fees and books.

Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, presented a bill that would allocate an additional $5 million for scholarships. Under his bill, donors would be eligible to receive 50 percent of their donation back in the form of a tax credit if it doesn’t exceed their tax liability or $500,000.


Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposed 2014-15 budget includes $6 million for the dual enrollment program.

Some see the program as a link to future job creation in the state.

“The competition for jobs among states is simply too fierce,” House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said. “Career tech will be a powerful magnet that attracts new jobs and industries in Alabama while we continue to grow those already here.”

Wilford Holt, dean of workforce development at Trenholm State Technical College said the program was launched about three years ago at the school and has become increasingly popular since then.

“The ultimate goal is for them to have some skills after high school or continue their education after high school,” Holt said. “There are so many jobs out there for employees who have skills. We have to give them the skill level they need.”

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Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com