High school students could soon be developing career skills designed by potential future employers, thanks to legislation filed by State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) that passed the Illinois Senate on April 24th.
“This program is designed to allow high school students to develop the skills they will need for actual careers here in Illinois,” said State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria). “The idea is to offer our students a head start toward successful good-paying jobs.”
Senate Bill 3226 directs the Illinois State Board of Education to set up guidelines that would allow high school students over the age of 16 to take part in registered vocational apprenticeship programs focused on industry-based occupational training. The programs would be reviewed and approved by the United States Department of Labor.
Students would be able to substitute successful completion of the registered apprenticeship program for certain high school courses or graduation requirements.
“This is especially important for students who will pursue careers that require further education after high school, but not necessarily a degree,” said Senator Weaver. “Right now most high school students can earn college credit toward their degrees, but that ignores a large number of specialized, technical careers. This program will offer the types of specific training and education that employers are looking for.”
This legislation passed the Senate unanimously and is now headed to the Illinois House for approval in that chamber.
SB3226 is one of a number of bills sponsored or cosponsored by Senator Weaver to improve educational opportunities for Illinois students. Some of the bills cover topics such as dual credit programs and legislation to help alleviate the current shortage of qualified teachers faced by many Illinois schools.
“We know that we need to give our students every opportunity possible to help them compete in an increasingly competitive global workforce,” said Senator Weaver. “I’m thankful that we’ve been able to find strong bipartisan support and cooperation for many of these ideas.”