High school students would have more access to apprenticeships in high-demand fields under a bill that was forwarded to the governor last week.

Senate Bill 923, by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, would create a grant program called the Educational Apprenticeship Innovation Prize, or EdPrize, to allow school districts and community colleges to expand apprenticeship programs. The grants would be made available under the California Career Pathways Trust, a $250 million fund for career programs in schools. EdPrize applications would be given special consideration for funding under the trust fund, according to the bill text.

The grants would be tailored toward expanding apprenticeships in fields such as manufacturing, health care, biotechnology, early childhood education, and entertainment. Apprenticeships – where students are paid to work in their chosen field while simultaneously going to school to learn the craft – are common in the construction trades, yet few other industries have embraced the model.

“The EdPrize competition will encourage local high schools and colleges to collaborate with businesses and others to create career opportunities while making our state’s economy more competitive,” Pavley said in a statement.

SB 923 passed the Legislature on Thursday; Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sept. 30 to take action on the bill.

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