Friday, April 16, 2021

House passes bill to extend apprenticeship programs to 16 year old students

Apprenticeship Bill Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that extends high school apprenticeship programs to include sophomores that are at least 16 years old passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 619 by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, and Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, passed with a vote of 94-0. The bill was amended in the House, so it now moves back to the Senate for final passage.

“This bill is near and dear to my heart, as I work in the trades and see the need for such early training of our future workforce,” West said. “This opens the door to our students to the possibilities of great career opportunities in the trades. It will help us develop a stronger and more skilled workforce to attract greater business development and more jobs into the Oklahoma economy.”

Bullard said, “For too long now, we have not acted on closed doors to apprenticeships and mentorships for our students, which open up gateways to good jobs.  With the passage of Senate Bill 619, we are well on our way to open new frontiers in vocational fields. This is step one in a bigger need to engage Oklahoma students in real world opportunities.  I am very proud to run this bill and many others in this same thread of need.”

SB 619 allows high school sophomores who are at least 16 years old to enter into apprenticeships, internships and mentorships offered by their school. Previously only juniors and seniors could do so. The measure also allows school districts to obtain liability insurance to protect students who participate in these programs. Schools are prohibited from directly or indirectly charging a student or the student’s parent for the cost of the insurance. The State Board of Education now can develop rules for determining whether apprenticeships can be used as credit toward graduation requirements.

Kevin West serves District 54 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of Moore in Cleveland and Oklahoma counties.


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