115C-156.2. Industry certifications and credentials program.

(a) It is the intent of the State to encourage students to enroll in and successfully complete rigorous coursework and credentialing processes in career and technical education to enable success in the workplace. To attain this goal, to the extent funds are made available for this purpose, students shall be supported to earn approved industry certifications and credentials:

(1) Students enrolled in public schools and in career and technical education courses shall be exempt from paying any fees for one administration of examinations leading to industry certifications and credentials pursuant to rules adopted by the State Board of Education.

(2) Each school year, at such time as agreed to by the Department of Commerce and the State Board of Education, the Department of Commerce shall provide the State Board of Education with a list of those occupations in high need of additional skilled employees. If the occupations identified in such list are not substantially the same as those occupations identified in the list from the prior year, reasonable notice of such changes shall be provided to local school administrative units.

(3) Local school administrative units shall consult with their local industries, employers, and workforce development boards to identify industry certification and credentials that the local school administrative unit may offer to best meet State and local workforce needs.

(b) Beginning in 2014, the State Board of Education shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by September 15 of each year on the number of students in career and technical education courses who earned (i) community college credit and (ii) related industry certifications and credentials. (2013-360, s. 8.28(b); 2014-115, s. 83.)