INDIANAPOLIS – A new Indiana law will offer state-funded career training opportunities for high school students.
Under House Enrolled Act 1002, students in grades 10 through 12 will be able to apply for career scholarship accounts of up to $5,000 each. They would cover costs associated with internships, apprenticeships, courses outside of school and certifications.
Completing work-based training outside the classroom has been a growing trend in recent years.
“Local auto dealers, where students then work their senior year in the service centers,” Bill Kovach, executive director of the Central Nine Career Center, cited as an example.
The new state career program may allow more businesses to offer such opportunities, Kovach said.
“Students can only do so much inside the walls of a school,” he said. “They need to get out into the work world and see what those experiences are.”
Republican state lawmakers, who pushed for the plan, have said they hope to get at least 5,000 students enrolled over the next two years. One of their goals is to help address Indiana’s workforce needs.
“I think the recent numbers indicate that we have 100,000 more job openings than job seekers,” said Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Brinegar said he’s hopeful the program will have an impact, particularly in fields like manufacturing, technology and health care.
The new law also requires the state to create a school curriculum with career-focused courses, which Brinegar believes is needed.
“Newly-created jobs, 90%+, and in some studies 99%, require more than a high school diploma,” Brinegar said. “And so that’s the reality.”
The legislation also requires high schools to hold an annual career fair.
The new law takes effect July 1. The Indiana Department of Education is still working on guidelines for the program’s rollout, according to a spokesperson.