(1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) Since 1928, Nebraska students have benefited from participation in career education student organizations;
(b) Research conducted in 2007 by the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education has documented a positive association between career education student organizations participation and academic motivation, academic engagement, grades, career self-efficacy, college aspirations, and employability skills;
(c) Long-term sustainability of the state associations of career education student organizations has a positive impact on Nebraska students and is in the best interests of the economic well-being of the State of Nebraska;
(d) Students in Nebraska schools should have opportunities to acquire academic, technical, and employability knowledge and skills needed to meet the demands of a global economy;
(e) Students benefit from the opportunities provided by career education student organizations to develop and demonstrate leadership skills that prepare them for civic, economic, and entrepreneurial leadership roles;
(f) Students benefit from engaging in expanded-learning experiences outside their normal classrooms that allow them to apply their knowledge and skill in authentic situations;
(g) There is a need to establish and expand strategies and programs that enable young people to be college-ready and career-ready, build assets, and remain as productive citizens in their communities; and
(h) There is a need to establish a statewide structure that supports existing and emerging curriculum and program offerings with student leadership development opportunities and experiences.
(2) The Legislature recognizes that Nebraska must provide opportunities to educate young people with leadership and employability skills to (a) meet the needs of business and industry and remain economically viable, (b) educate and nurture future entrepreneurs for successful business ventures to diversify and strengthen our economic base, (c) foster rewarding personal development experiences that involve students in their communities and encourage them to return to their communities after completing postsecondary education, and (d) invest in and support the leadership development of our future state and community civic leaders.