ST. PAUL  (AP) -- Legislation creating alternative licensing for teachers gets Gov. Mark Dayton's signature Monday, creating a new path into the profession for nontraditional teachers and midcareer professionals.

The Democratic governor will sign the bill at a Capitol news conference, joined by Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The change is aimed at helping to close a wide racial achievement gap in Minnesota and fill projected teacher shortages.

It is expected to bring in new, mostly young teachers who didn't attend traditional teaching colleges and ease the way for programs such as Teach for America, a national initiative that places recent college graduates in struggling schools.

Opponents such as the Education Minnesota teachers union have predicted the change will weaken standards for becoming a teacher.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)