Hartford - More high school upperclassmen could do hands-on work in manufacturing industry internships under legislation that passed the state Senate Thursday.
The bill makes an exception to state laws against minors working in hazardous-duty jobs for 16- and 17-year-old students who enroll in manufacturing apprenticeship courses.
It grants similar exceptions for youths in work-study programs or a Connecticut career certificate program.
Proponents said there are many Connecticut high-tech manufacturing firms seeking skilled labor. More apprenticeships would put young people on a path to fill those rewarding and well-paying job position.
"Allowing these internships is a very, very important part of our educational system, and should be a growing part," said Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford.
Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, pointed out how Germany, a high-wage country with a vibrant manufacturing sector, has a vigorous apprenticeship system in place for its young people.
The bill now goes to the House.