As Texas recovers from the COVID-19 economic and health consequences, it is imperative that all students have access to career and technical education that will prepare them for high-wage, high-demand occupations that exist now and that are emerging.

According to the January 2021 Texas Labor Market Review, unemployment among young people 16-19 is up to 18%, compared with 13% in January 2020. We know that a first job is a crucial first step toward future economic mobility. According to the Aspen Institute:

Youth unemployment can have lasting consequences – repressed wages, decreased upward mobility, and lessened productivity over a person’s work life. In particular, this is true for young people of color, who are often combating systemic barriers that limit their access to jobs – and which can contribute to setting them up for disparities later in life.

HB 1032 addresses the need for students of all economic backgrounds to have access to paid internships, apprenticeships, and other work-based learning experiences.