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Substitute Senate Bill No. 1285

Public Act No. 07-20

AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONNECTICUT CAREER CERTIFICATE PROGRAM.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 10-20a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

(a) [(1)] Local and regional boards of education, the regional vocational-technical school system, postsecondary institutions and regional educational service centers, may [(A)] (1) in consultation with regional workforce development boards established pursuant to section 31-3k, local employers, labor organizations and community-based organizations establish career pathway programs leading to a Connecticut career certificate in accordance with this section, and [(B)] (2) enroll students in such programs based on entry criteria determined by the establishing agency. Such programs shall be approved by the Commissioner of Education and the Labor Commissioner. [after review and comment by the regional school-to-career partnership established by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection for the region in which the program is proposed to operate. ] Applications for program approval shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Education in such form and at such time as [he] the commissioner prescribes. All programs leading to a Connecticut career certificate shall provide equal access for all students and necessary accommodations and support for students with disabilities.

[(2) The Commissioner of Education shall establish regional school-to-career partnerships. The partnerships shall include, but need not be limited to, educators, students and representatives of local and regional boards of education, postsecondary educational institutions, regional workforce development boards established pursuant to section 31-3k, business and industry and labor organizations. ]

(b) Programs established pursuant to this section may be offered for one or more years and shall include:

(1) Not less than eighty hours during any year of school-based instruction which focuses on the academic, technical and employability skills outlined in the skill standards established pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, workplace safety awareness and instruction in the history of the American economy and the role of labor, business and industry;

(2) Work-based instruction which includes worksite experience, including all major activities related to the career cluster. Such worksite experience shall: (A) Be paid, except as provided in section 10-20b, as amended by this act, (B) include a planned program of job training and work experiences, including training related to preemployment and employment skills to be mastered at progressively higher levels, that are coordinated with school-based instruction, (C) include instruction, to the extent practicable, in all aspects of the industry, (D) relate to the academic, technical and employability skills outlined in the skill standards established pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, (E) include, but not be limited to, on-the-job training, internships, community service and field trips, (F) be conducted in accordance with an individualized written training and mentoring plan, agreed to by the student, his parent or guardian, if the student is under eighteen years of age, the principal of the school or the chief executive officer of the agency operating the program in which the student is enrolled, or the designee of such principal or chief executive officer, and the employer, and (G) be in conformance with the requirements of section 10-20d, as amended by this act; and

(3) Activities that ensure coordination between school-based instruction and work-based instruction, including, but not limited to, (A) career awareness and exploration opportunities, and (B) information and guidance concerning transition to postsecondary education.

(c) For purposes of this section, "career cluster" means a range of occupations which share a set of skills and knowledge organized under the federal career clusters endorsed by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education under the United States Department of Education. Such skills and knowledge include (1) academic and technical skills related to the type of employment and (2) general employability skills. The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with other state, regional and local agencies, business and industry and labor organizations, shall maintain a list of [state] federally recognized career clusters and skill standards for each such career cluster, along with the projected occupation growth area clusters within the state identified by labor market projections provided by the Labor Department.

Sec. 2. Subsection (c) of section 10-20b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

(c) The employment of students in programs established pursuant to section 10-20a, as amended by this act, shall be in compliance with sections 31-23 and 31-58 and shall be paid employment, unless the Labor Commissioner, or [his] the commissioner's designee, in consultation with the Commissioner of Education, or [his] the commissioner's designee, receives and approves a written request from the principal of the school or the chief executive officer of the agency operating the program in which the student is enrolled, or the designee of such principal or chief executive officer, that such employment not be paid because of worksite experiences that are generally not paid employment, such as community service activities. The terms of compensation shall be (1) negotiated between the employer and such principal or chief executive officer, or the designee of such principal or chief executive officer, (2) accepted by the student, (3) based on the nature of the work and the status of the student-worker as a student, [and] (4) reasonable for the actual work performed, and (5) in compliance with the provisions of title 31 concerning the employment of minors.

Sec. 3. Section 10-20d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

(a) The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Labor Commissioner and the Commissioners of Economic and Community Development and Higher Education, shall, within the limits of available appropriations, provide grants to [local and regional boards of education, the vocational-technical school system,] postsecondary institutions, regional workforce development boards, regional educational service centers and other appropriate agencies and organizations to support the development [and implementation] of educators administering programs leading to a Connecticut career certificate pursuant to section 10-20a, as amended by this act.

[(b) In awarding grants pursuant to this section, the Commissioner of Education shall give priority to interdistrict programs and programs operated in priority school districts, as described in section 10-266p. Grant applications shall include documentation of review and comment by the regional school-to-career partnership established by the Commissioner of Education for the region in which the program is proposed to operate. ]

[(c)] (b) If the Commissioner of Education finds that some or all of the amount of any grant awarded pursuant to this section is used for purposes which are not in conformity with sections 10-20a to 10-20d, inclusive, as amended by this act, or is used to reduce the local share of support for schools or to supplant a previous source of funding, the commissioner may require repayment of such grant to the state.

[(d)] (c) Each grant recipient shall submit to the Commissioner of Education, at such time and in such manner as [he] the commissioner prescribes, a biennial program evaluation report.

Approved May 7, 2007