MAC Education & Workforce Update: Education & Workforce Legislation as of Crossover Day

March 23, 2020

MAC's Education & Workforce Development priorities saw a lot of movement this year, let's break down where some of the legislation is during Georgia's legislative session.

Your Metro Atlanta Chamber Policy Team was hard at work during the 2020 legislative session. Even though the current session is suspended for now, we wanted to provide you a recap of what legislation survived Crossover Day (the deadline by which a piece of legislation must pass either the state house or state senate). Below are the pieces of legislation that were a top priority for MAC this session. For a full listing of legislation we were following this session, see our Crossover Day Report here

Legislation passed that increases Georgia’s opportunity to build a skilled workforce :

Student Work-Based Learning: Two Senate Bills, Senate Bill (SB) 447 and Senate Resolution (SR) 833, were passed. SB 447 provides basic definitions for types of work-based learning that are in practice currently throughout our K-12 schools, including Career & Technical Education or “CTE”. Putting these definitions into one complete set of practices then assists the next piece of legislation, SR 833, a study committee made up of legislators, business professionals, and educators, that will review existing work-based learning programs throughout the state, hear directly from teachers and businesses, and make recommendations to improve the overall work-based learning experience for students. The programs studied will cover a variety of learning options including internships, externships, cooperative learning, project-based learning, and more. MAC was heavily involved in the crafting of this legislation and coordinated efforts directly with Georgia’s Department of Education in refining the language of the bill. Thank you to Senator P.K. Martin for his leadership on shepherding this legislation. Expanding student work-based learning opportunities is a policy priority for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. This legislation now awaits consideration in the Georgia State House.

Record Restriction: Senate Bill 288 (SB 288), the “Second Chances” bill, sponsored by Senator Tonya Anderson. This legislation amends and expands Georgia’s criminal record expungement law for certain, non-violent misdemeanors. Individuals who have served their time, completed parole, and have a clean record for four years after, can petition the courts to have the record expunged. This legislation can potentially impact thousands of Georgians who have previously been denied access to job opportunities due to a misdemeanor event in their past. This legislation is a main priority for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. This legislation now awaits consideration in the Georgia State House.  

Making Improvements in K-12 Schools: House Bill (HB) 1084 by Representative Mike Cheokas will allow for industry professionals in high-demand career fields to teach in Georgia’s K-12 classrooms. Industry professionals provide a valuable, job-based perspective in teaching certain classroom curriculums. This legislation has been a priority for the Metro Atlanta Chamber for several years, and we are delighted to see that it is starting to gain traction. This legislation now awaits consideration in the Georgia State Senate.

Supporting Our Current & Future Workforce: The Georgia State House passed House Bill (HB) 1094 which will provide three weeks of paid family leave for state employees. This legislation covers both the mother and father of the child and includes new foster placements and adoptions. This legislation follows action by State House Speaker David Ralston who last year offered the same benefit for state house employees. The Metro Atlanta Chamber strongly supports this move by the legislature and will continue to work with our industry partners on expanding similar benefits in private industries across the state. This legislation now awaits consideration in the Georgia State Senate.

Other Education & Workforce News:

Opportunity ATL: APS Edition has been postponed to the Fall semester and the Job & Resource Fair, originally scheduled for May 13, has been postponed to August 12

Also visit MAX – the Metro Atlanta Exchange for Workforce Solutions for information regarding how metro workforce organizations are responding to the current crisis. There are also plenty of links to area organizations doing great community work to support each other during these difficult times. 

Partners: The United Way of Greater Atlanta and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta have started a joint project to get funds directly to organizations who are helping families in need during the Covid-19 crises. You can donate here or click on either of the organizations to learn more.