Statehouse—State Reps. Randy Lyness (R-West Harrison) and Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville) this week voted in support of a bill that aims to break barriers for students from low-income families.
Lyness said House Bill 1009 would exempt students’ income earned through internships and work-based learning programs from their families’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families eligibility requirements. Because the earned income could jeopardize their families’ eligibility for assistance, he said some students might turn down those opportunities. “Internships and apprenticeships are vital to preparing young Hoosiers for the workforce,” Lyness said. “These opportunities should not be passed up because they would put their families’ assistance at risk.”
Ziemke said this legislation also comes as Indiana works to further develop its workforce to meet the needs of job creators across the state. According to Indiana’s Next Level Jobs initiative, there are more than 45,000 job openings in fields such as advanced manufacturing and health care. “We will not be able to break the cycle of poverty if students from low-income families are kept away from the most rewarding educational and successful work-based learning experiences,” Ziemke said. “Not only do these positions prepare young Hoosiers for a job, but it’s a learn-and-earn experience.”