Clay suggested the establishment of a governor's academy for career and technical options similar to the Governor's Schools for the Arts and for Math and Science.
"The future of this state depends on it," Clay said.
Delegate Larry Williams, D-Preston, agreed that re-emphasizing CTE could lead to major accomplishments for the state.
"Once these students experience success one time, they start building from there, he said.
Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, said a primary factor in the success of these programs would be the educators' attention to students' unique ways of learning.
"With the makeup of their home life, some students are out there on their own. It's going to take a little bit more than being introduced one day at a job fair. The key is to have people in the school system that monitor and keep up after them. They need to feel a connection with an adult who cares about them," she said.
Representatives from Vision Shared, a nonprofit that has hosted education forums around the state, and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce also urged the work group to give attention to CTE. Nearly 70 percent of the chamber's employers require skill specialization when hiring, according to a 2012 survey.
Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, asked legislators to focus on the recommendations found on the audit that will have a direct impact on student achievement.
"Many of the things in the audit have no bearing on student achievement, and if we are really truly going to improve public education, then student achievement should be at the very top of the list of the things we're trying to improve," he said.
Judy Hale, president of the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, also urged that when deciding policy changes, lawmakers should realize what's important.
"If it doesn't improve academic achievement, we ought not to be doing it. If it's an issue whether we don't know if it will improve, then we ought to be piloting it," she said.
The Education Audit Work group will meet again at the Capitol next month.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.