The discussion isn't confined to vocational programs. Some of the proposals call for more hands-on learning and career skills in classes offered at four-year campuses as well.
The new vocational tone has raised at least one concern.
Dane Smith, president of the St. Paul think tank Growth & Justice, said he supported the expansion of vocational education. But he cautioned against making it the default option for low-income and minority students, who often don't have the academic background of their middle- and upper-class white peers.
"We shouldn't consign, relegate or give up too easily on the four-year potential of a lot of these students," he said.
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