The Indiana Economic Development Corp. recently announced more than 27,000 new jobs with average wages of $28.60 per hour are coming to our state. For some young Hoosiers, obtaining one of these positions may seem out of reach as they compete with other candidates with resumes filled with internships and apprenticeships. House Republicans want to remove a barrier that prevents some Hoosier students from low-income families from taking advantage of paid internships.

Today, students often need a head start in their careers. By securing internships or apprenticeships in a field or industry in which they hope to work, they can be more competitive in the job market.

Young Hoosier adults from low-income families who are still dependents might avoid applying for these valuable programs. Currently, their earnings count toward their family’s total income, which affects the family’s eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. This causes some students to turn down opportunities.

Legislation I supported would exempt a dependent’s income through a paid internship or work-based program from their families’ eligibility regarding these benefit assistance programs. This would remove barriers so everyone can take part and benefit from these experiences.

As Indiana sees its demand for skilled workers grow, we need to take steps to empower the next generation of Hoosiers. Internships and apprenticeships often lead to jobs, and it is not fair that some dependents have to weigh the heavy choice between meeting their career goals and the needs of their family. This legislation, House Enrolled Act 1009, is now with the Indiana Senate for further consideration.

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