Illinois High School students could soon have another option to help prepare them for their future careers, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) that passed the Illinois Senate.
“Not every student is headed for college, but we can still help them get a head start on good paying jobs right here in Illinois,” said State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria).
House Bill 5247 requires the state board of education to adopt rules that would allow students 16 years of age and older to participate in industry-based occupational apprenticeship programs. The standards of the programs would be reviewed and approved by the US Department of Labor. The ISBE rules would allow students to waive certain non-academic graduation requirements that would otherwise stop them from being able to take part in the apprenticeship programs.
“We have a large number of good-paying jobs in this state that require special training, but not necessarily a college degree,” said Senator Weaver. “This legislation would help students be better prepared to get these jobs after graduation, giving them a boost as they work toward successful careers and lives.”
This legislation is similar to Senate Bill 3226, which was filed by Senator Weaver and previously passed the Senate. House Bill 5247 was filed by Representative Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley) and mirrors the Senate version. It was amended in the Senate after passing the House and now goes back to the House for a concurrence vote before heading to the Governor’s desk.
These two bills, along with several other filed or sponsored by Senator Weaver, are part of a larger effort by the Senator to improve K-12 education in Illinois. Some of the other bills include efforts to combat the teacher shortage, dual credit programs to help students save money and get a head start on college, as well as other job-focused training programs.
“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.”