Rapid technological advances, the advent of a global economy, changing demographics and restructuring of the traditional workplace have dictated changes in educational programs designed to prepare work force entrants and incumbents. More emphasis must be placed on the transfer of technology, via the educational system, to the workplace resulting in an academically and technically literate work force. A structure must be established to provide incentives, high expectations and encouragement for talented vocational-technical students to pursue advanced education and training related to their technical disciplines, as well as provide a mechanism for the technical updating of vocational-technical teachers and administrators, including opportunities for the attainment of advanced degrees.
The economic future of the State of West Virginia will be greatly influenced by the ability of the educational system to prepare competent individuals for a highly competitive and technological workplace. Excellence in terms of faculty, programs and educational opportunities for all West Virginians will greatly affect the degree of future economic prosperity within the state. With the enactment of this article, the Legislature intends to address a major void in the current system of vocational-technical education in West Virginia through the creation of a comprehensive program of educational incentives for talented students, teachers and administrators. The results of the programs and initiatives proposed by this article can have a significant impact toward achieving excellence in vocational-technical education within West Virginia and revitalizing the state's economy.