State legislatures are a key player in creating and improving job training opportunities and programs.
In 2014, six states enacted 14 bills relating to workforce development. Ten out of the 14 bills focused on teaming up with agencies, businesses, higher education institutions and community organizations to develop or expand training for available jobs. Many of these programs focused on linking high school students to internship or apprenticeship opportunities in the private sector.
California, Colorado, Indiana and Maryland created subsidies for businesses to train students for available jobs. New laws in Colorado and Rhode Island require a committee to identify the key industries in need of skilled workers and to develop career pathways to high-demand jobs. Indiana will evaluate their career and technical education programs. Rhode Island will create a new board of trustees to oversee an independent non-profit to raise money to expand career and technical education programs.
California A 2060
Establishes the Supervised Population Workforce Training Grant Program to fund vocational training, stipends and apprenticeship opportunities for criminal offenders under community supervision.
Colorado H 1085
Creates the Adult Education and Literacy Grant Fund to provide eligible adults with basic education in literacy and math leading to additional skill acquisition, a post-secondary credential, or employment. Only local education providers that operate an adult education program can apply.
Colorado S 205
Requires the Workforce Development Council within the Department of Labor and Employment to work with the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Education, the Office of Economic Development and International Trade to determine job needs across key industries and occupations. Sector partnerships will advise the development of career pathway programs for critical occupations in key industries and ensure the coordination of education and workforce initiatives.
Indiana H 1003
Allows school corporations and charter schools to apply for grant funding to support student training in high skill, in-demand jobs with Indiana businesses. Provides tax credits for businesses that hire students who have participated in the program. Requires the Department of Education, the Department of Workforce Development, the Commission for Higher Education, and other state agencies that collect relevant data related to educational and workforce outcomes to track the aggregate number of enrollees in programs leading to middle skill credentials.
Indiana H 1064
Requires a study on the use and return on investment of career and technical education programs by Aug. 1, 2014. The study will review of the programs effect on college and career readiness, employment, and economic opportunity. Directs recommendations based on which programs have the strongest outcomes in terms of highest wages and filling in-demand jobs.
Maryland H 811 / S 876
Creates the Summer Career Academy Pilot Program to provide training opportunities to struggling high school students. The program will run during the summer from 2015-2017 and four eligible school systems will be selected to participate. Each school system will recommend 60 students to the program in the first year and 100 students in subsequent years. Eligible students will receive a $4,500 stipend for the summer and either a $500 completion grant or $2,000 scholarship for the in-state institute of higher learning of their choice upon completion.
Maryland H 1207
Establishes a Youth Apprenticeship Advisory Committee in the Division of Labor and Industry to evaluate the effectiveness of and implement high school youth apprenticeship programs. It will also identify ways employers and organizations can obtain grants, tax credits, and other subsidies to participate in programs.
Maryland H 1317
Establishes a Maryland Technology Internship Program to connect college and university students, recent graduates, and veterans with small innovative businesses in the high-growth technology sector. Participating technology-based business will be reimbursed up to 50 percent of a stipend paid to an intern, but not more than $1,800 for the first semester and $1,200 for the second semester. The award may not total more than $3,000 annually for each intern.
Ohio H 107
Creates the Career Exploration Internship program to provide grants to businesses to hire high school students as interns.
Rhode Island H 8204
Creates a new board of trustees to oversee state career and technical education (CTE) programs and establish an independent nonprofit foundation able to raise money from the private sector to improve the state CTE options.
Rhode Island H 8266
Expands the State Work Immersion program to include recent college graduates. The program reimburses employers 50 percent for the cost of training program participants for no more than 400 hours.
Rhode Island S 2539
Allows those honorably discharged from the military or members of the National Guard to use classroom and workplace training towards apprenticeship requirements for certain skilled trades.
Rhode Island S 2998
Requires that the human resource investment council convene an advisory committee comprised of representatives from local business, higher education, agencies, community organizations and the public workforce system. The committee will develop and expand career pathways to secure employment within a specific industry that offers education and higher levels of employment in that sector.
Qiana Torres Flores is a policy associate.