FRANKFORT — Kentucky is tweaking its technical and career education system to make it more streamlined.
Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday that would move two career and technical education systems — one run by local school districts and a second that includes 53 state-run technical centers — under the same umbrella to create a unified system at the middle and high school level.
Currently, local high schools can operate career and technical programs using local and state funds. Those programs report to the Kentucky Department of Education. The state also has 53 technical centers for 123 school districts that are paid for with state funds. That career and technical program reports to the Department for Workforce Investment.
The executive order moves both systems to the Kentucky Department of Education.
Dale Winkler, executive director of the new Office of Career and Technical Education, said the local programs and state-run programs also have different curricula. By moving the two systems under the same umbrella, the state will be able to create a more streamlined system and address needs of employers quickly.
"Industry has really been behind this," Winkler said. "Before, they had to go and address two different audiences if they needed to make changes."
In addition to moving the two systems to the Kentucky Department of Education, the executive order signed Tuesday establishes a committee of educators, employers and others to advise on curriculum and career pathways.
About 75 percent of Kentucky high school students received some form of technical career education last year.
Beshear signed the order at Locust Trace Agriscience Farm in Lexington. It is Fayette County's third technical school.