A bill to establish regional apprenticeship programs for high school students in Washington is nearing the finish line in the state Senate.

House Bill 1013 (HB 1013) would allow students to participate in a state-run apprenticeship program that would offer experience in different vocations that may not require a college education.

"It's like Running Start for the building trades - it gets you to that next step," says 7th District Rep. Jacqueline Maycumber (R) of Republic, who introduced the bill. "It connects you to that next level for getting that job. The bill passed unanimously out of the House and has 58 co-sponsors. I've been working on it over multiple biennium. Now it's in the Senate Ways & Means Committee."

Maycumber says apprenticeship programs pave the way for future career opportunities for students and also benefit employers by providing them with the chance to train students for jobs in certain industries.

"I really look forward to it (HB 1013) passing and really giving every child, no matter where they live, an equal access to the future. That's what it's really all about because over fifty percent of our kids don't go to a four-year school and we just hope they make it when what we should be doing is making sure they can eventually do the job that they find joy doing."

If the legislation becomes law, its first pilot programs would be in areas of the state with the largest number of small, rural school districts.

HB 1013 was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on Friday.

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