(a) The General Assembly finds that it would be beneficial to students, employers, and the economic health of the state to assist in providing highly trained, technologically sophisticated, and career oriented students which will aid in the development of a successful twenty-first century work force. By opening their doors to work based learning opportunities, employers can play an active role in shaping the quality of their future work force, by preparing potential leaders for their company and their community, and by helping shape future curriculum to create an educated work force for their industry as a whole. Work based learning programs can provide students the opportunity to work and learn in a real-world environment and prepare them for future career opportunities. Such work based learning opportunities can be accomplished by developing partnerships between and among the business community, industry, students, parents, school systems, and postsecondary education institutions.
(b) Any student aged 15 or over in any public school in this state may enroll in a work based learning program which is offered at that public school and which is approved for secondary credit by the department. Such student shall be granted release time from the public school to work as a student learner for any business or governmental enterprise which is approved by the local work based learning coordinator as a qualified employer pursuant to this Code section and work based learning program guidelines established by the department. A student shall receive secondary credit for such work based learning only under the conditions established by the department. The department is authorized to establish work based learning programs and guidelines to assist local school systems in operating such programs and to promulgate such policies, standards, procedures, criteria, and administrative requirements as may be necessary to implement the program by rules and regulations. The work based learning programs established pursuant to this Code section may include, but not be limited to, employability skill development, cooperative education, internships, and youth apprenticeships. The department shall collaborate with the Department of Labor and the Technical College System of Georgia in developing such policies and procedures. The department's work based learning programs shall include but not be limited to the following:
(1) A detailed training agreement and training plan between employer and student that identifies specific work tasks that will develop workplace competency;
(2) A minimum of one unit of credit in a career pathway course related to the work based learning placement;
(3) A minimum number of hours of on-the-job training as required in the department's guidelines for awarding secondary credit;
(4) On-site evaluation of the student's performance;
(5) Training remediation as necessary at the school site;
(6) A broad range of skills but shall be focused on skills related to the student's career pathway;
(7) Development of materials by the business, industry, and labor community in conjunction with the department to promote the awareness of work based learning opportunities for high school students and encourage recruitment; and
(8) Structural linkage between secondary and postsecondary components of the program leading to the awarding of a high school diploma and a postsecondary credential, which may include industry credentialing, as defined in Code Section 20-2-326 , related to the student's career pathway.
(c) Local school systems and college and career academies may designate one or more local work based learning coordinators to coordinate and oversee work based learning programs for the school system.
(d) Local work based learning coordinators shall complete training programs that are collaboratively designed and delivered by the department and the Technical College System of Georgia.
(e) A college and career academy established in accordance with Code Section 20-4-37 which participates in work based learning programs pursuant to this Code section shall be eligible for any funding or assistance available for the implementation of this Code section.
(f) The State Board of Education shall encourage local school systems to work with their industry partners to develop and provide opportunities for industry experience for local work based learning coordinators and for teachers and shall provide for professional learning credit for coordinators and teachers who participate in such opportunities.
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