Bill to expand work-based learning advances

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Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield

Provided photo

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill advanced by the Indiana House of Representatives will aim to expand work-based learning across the state, according to a press release shared Monday.

House Bill 1001 would aim to expand beyond traditional college coursework with the Frank O’Bannon Grant and the 21st Century Scholarship including job training, providing opportunities to Hoosiers who may not be interested in a two-year or four-year degree, said State Rep. Cory Criswell (R-Middletown).

“This bill affirms our commitment to ensuring students have access to career training, no matter what their end goal is,” said Criswell in the press release. “Whether it’s a college degree or an apprenticeship, young Hoosiers should have a wide range of pathways to continue their education.”

The release also stated that according to the National Skills Coalition, 58% of Indiana jobs require skill training beyond a high school diploma but not a four-year degree. With a goal to give more high school graduates access to training and education, those graduates can obtain in-demand job to help boost the state’s workforce, said Chris Jeter (R-Fishers).

“There’s no substitute for having hands-on, work-based experience when you apply for a job,” said Jeter in the press release. “We want to give all Hoosier students pathways to success no matter what they pursue after high school.”

Co-author of HB 1001, State Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) said this year’s efforts build off legislation he supported in 2023, which created Career Scholarship Accounts for students to pay for career training, apprenticeships, certifications and internships. With those accounts, items such as transportation and uniforms can be paid for, along with the enrolling in earn-and-learn opportunities for sophomores, juniors and seniors.

“Career Scholarship Accounts remove financial roadblocks for students who want to have on-the-job training while they’re still in high school, which can help set them up for the workforce upon graduation,” said Cherry in the press release. “Schools across our community are already doing a great job of giving students options to earn-and-learn, start an apprenticeship or receive skilled trade training, and these scholarships affirmed our commitment to helping those programs succeed.”

HB 1001 will head to the Senate Chamber for further consideration, being referred for first reading to the Health and Provider Services committee. For more information about HB 1001, the 2024 session or to watch live, visit iga.in.gov. For more information about Career Scholarship Accounts and eligibility requirements, visit in.gov/tos/csa.