Gov. Nathan Deal recently signed into law legislation creating work-based learning programs for Georgia high school students, which will increase their access to real-world education and further ensure that the state is shaping a qualified future workforce. These programs will replace Georgia’s current youth apprenticeship program.
“Work-based learning programs establish a mutually beneficial relationship between students, employers and the economic health of the state,” Deal said. “Yielding highly trained, technologically sophisticated and career-oriented students, these programs will aid in the development of a successful and competitive 21st century workforce and help keep us the No. 1 place for business.”
The new law allows students in any public high school to enroll in a work-based learning program that is offered at their school and has been approved for class. The students will be granted release time from school to work for a qualified employer and may be eligible to earn dual credit upon completion of the program.
“These types of programs give students the opportunity to earn dual credit before graduating from high school, making their transition to a postsecondary smoother and their likelihood of obtaining a degree greater,” Deal said. “In the long run, this gives students a head start and encourages them to attain a degree so they can become part of an educated workforce ready and able to fill job openings in Georgia.”
The Department of Education will work with local school systems to establish guidelines and assist in operating these programs, creating a learning environment focused on academic excellence and workforce development. Local school systems and colleges will name one or more local work-based learning coordinators to oversee these programs.