Sep. 26, 2019

HARRISBURG – Legislation containing language by local lawmakers, which would allow high school students to obtain real-world work experience, was passed today by the Senate and is now headed to the governor for signature.

House Bill 796, authored by Reps. Kate Klunk (R-York), Aaron Bernstine (R-Lawrence/Beaver/Butler) and Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia), would establish a pilot grant program which would encourage schools and local businesses to collaborate to provide work-based learning opportunities for high school students. The language of this bill was amended into House Bill 265, authored by Rep. Craig Staats (R-Bucks), which was approved by the General Assembly.

“This initiative would significantly increase the accessibility and quality of apprenticeship programs for high school students,” said Klunk. “I’m very excited to see the positive impacts on apprenticeship programs throughout the Commonwealth.”

The pilot program is based on a successful partnership in southcentral Pennsylvania between the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, numerous Hanover-area businesses, the Hanover Public School District and South Western School District. Through their program, businesses are helping to design curriculum and investing in equipment for students to learn trades and obtain recognized certifications.

“This innovative pilot program would bring our business leaders and students together to transform our education system and prepare Pennsylvania students for jobs right here at home,” said Bernstine. “We need to do a better job of communicating all opportunities to students before they exit high school and embark on their careers, and this program will help us do that.”

“Today we created pathways all over this state for our young people to enter family-sustaining careers in their own communities. Rather than impose a one-size-fits-all approach, we created the Schools-to-Work program so that each county can be a laboratory of innovation in pre-apprenticeships,” said Solomon. “Because the goal is not just a handful of cool pre-apprenticeships in select counties; it is a sea change in how we prepare our young people for the working world, in how our schools and businesses work together to strengthen communities, in how we prepare our kids for a family-sustaining career, whether they go on to university or not.”

House Bill 265 is now on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

Representative Kate A. Klunk
169th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Greg Gross
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