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Ramos bill to boost high school student vocational workforce programs heads to governor

SACRAMENTO—A measure requiring school districts and other school agencies to notify apprenticeship programs about upcoming college and career fairs to increase student awareness of careers in the trades heads to the governor after a unanimous bipartisan Senate floor vote of 39-0 on Monday. Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) is authoring the measure, AB 643.

“We must ensure that trade apprenticeships are presented as an option,” Ramos said. “These programs expand workforce opportunities for young people and create a pipeline of skilled employees receiving competitive wages.”

In addition to mandating timely notification to apprenticeship programs of schools’ college and career fairs, AB 643 requires that schools or districts use the database of approved apprenticeship programs published by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards within the Department of Industrial Relations via its website. The bill also encourages school districts and schools to host apprenticeship fair events focused on career technical education opportunities.

In a letter of support for AB 643, contractor, plumbing and electrical worker associations wrote, “Our industry apprenticeship programs offer high-quality work-based learning and are ‘earn-and-learn’ opportunities for post-secondary students, eliminating the anchor of student debt on young people searching for a career. The programs must adhere to strict state standards for training, governed by the California Apprenticeship Council and the Division of Apprenticeship Standards within the California Department of Industrial Relations. 

The Ramos measure is supported by the California Federation of Teachers, California Hydrogen Coalition, California Legislative Conference of Plumbing, the Heating & Piping Industry, California State Association of Electrical Workers, California State Pipe Trades Council, Coalition of California Utility Employees, Engineering & Utility Contractors Association, International Union of Elevator Constructors, National Electrical Contractors Association, Northern California Allied Trades, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California, Southern California Glass Management Association, Wall and Ceiling Alliance, Western Electrical Contractors Association, Western States Council of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and Western Wall and Ceiling Contractors Association.

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