The bill creates the innovative industries workforce development program in the department of labor and employment (department) to be jointly administered by the state work force development council (state council) and the division of employment and training (division). The state council will provide oversight and strategic administration and the division will provide operational administration. The purpose of the program is to reimburse a business for one-half of its expenses related to a qualifying internship. A qualifying internship is one that:
- Is in an innovative industry;
- Is for at least 130 hours and lasts up to 6 months;
- Allows students to gain valuable work experience in at least 2 specified occupational areas;
- Pays the intern at least $10 per hour;
- Provides a mentor or supervisor that will work closely with the intern;
- Is not for the purpose of meeting required residency or clinical hours for the intern;
- Is with an innovative-industry business that has a physical operation facility in the state;
- Is for a high school or college student, a resident who is a student at an out-of-state college, or a recent graduate of either; and
- Along with all other internships, constitutes less than 50% of the business's workforce located in the state.
A business may be reimbursed for up to 5 interns per location and up to 10 at all locations, but the maximum amount that a business may be reimbursed for each internship is $5,000. At least one-half of the reimbursement amount must be paid to the intern. A business is required to receive preapproval from the division prior to or during the internship. The state council may enter into an agreement with one or more intermediaries, which are innovative-industry associations, to facilitate outreach to employers, market the program, and identify work experience opportunities.
The division is required to solicit information about internships that were reimbursed through the program, and the state council is required to submit a report to legislative committees about the program.