State Rep. Beau LaFave today announced his plan helping high school students earn course credit through an internship or work study program has been signed into law.
“Education today goes well beyond what’s in the classroom, especially as our children grow older and advance through high school,” LaFave said. “The real-world experience that an internship can provide is important to our job providers and students, helping identify what the future may hold for both. We’ve got to encourage these kinds of opportunities to explore if a certain career track is a strong fit or not before earning a high school diploma.”
The legislation sets guidelines stating that students can work four to 10 hours a week and, with the local district board of education’s oversight, will receive credit for graduation. The internship may be paid or volunteer. Partner legislation also safeguards funding for school districts, allowing students participating in an internship or a work experience program off campus to continue to qualify as a full-time student.
Although current Michigan Department of Education guidelines allow work-based internships in grades 9-12, LaFave’s new law makes it less prohibitive for students and school districts, especially in Delta, Dickinson and Menominee counties.
“There are several major corporations in Michigan that have facilitated internships to both high school and college students, which is great to see. However, my legislation opens the door to smaller local businesses and the mom and pop’s like we have in the Upper Peninsula, not just billion dollar companies,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “Hands-on experience is at a premium in today’s workplace. Expanding more authority to local school districts to decide on appropriate programs, while cutting through the red tape, will help both the students and the local job creators.”
LaFave noted he had letters of support on the plan from the Gladstone, Carney-Nadeau and Breitung Township school districts. Also supporting the legislation are the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Association of School Boards and the Great Lakes Education Project.
House Bill 4106 is now Public Act 184 of 2018.