If you're a high school guidance counselor in Michigan, pretty soon you're going to have to learn a whole lot more about preparing students for life after school.
Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday signed legislation - House Bill 4181 - that targets the 150 hours of professional development counselors must undertake in order to renew their license.
Now, at least 25 of those hours must cover instruction on improving the college preparation and selection process, and another 25 hours must be on career counseling.
The legislation passed the House in May on a 140-7 vote. On Oct. 24, it passed unanimously in the Senate on a 38-0 vote.
"Equipping students with the tools and resources they need to decide on a career path and finding the right avenue to get there is critically important for long-term success," Snyder said in a news release Wednesday.
"This bill helps school counselors better serve students by expanding the focus on the diverse career and educational options that are available," Snyder said.
The new rules will apply to those renewing their high school guidance counselor credential after January 2018.
The bill signing was applauded by officials with the Michigan College Access Network, which works to increase postsecondary readiness in Michigan.
"These requirements will boost the proficiency and skills counselors need to continue making a difference in the lives of students and helps ensure a bright future for Michigan," said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. "It takes a network of support to guide students through the college-going process and we know counselors are an important piece of that puzzle."
Snyder's signing comes a week after the Michigan Department of Education announced that three intermediate school districts would share $1 million in grant money to hire career counselors for career and technical education programs.
The three ISDs - Marquette Alger Regional Educational Services Agency, Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District and the Wayne Regional Educational Services Agency.
Meanwhile, a growing number of Michigan schools are taking advantage of an MCAN program that trains recent college graduates to work as college advisers in schools
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