(1) Education reform. The school-to-work program shall assist the department of education to carry out periodic assessments of the status of our education system, reviewing the core academic and vocational curriculum across grades K-14 but especially at high schools and community college to determine if the level of knowledge attained by the students can lead to effective job skills and successful employment or further education and training. If the program director finds that the standard of knowledge and skills received by the students received by the students does not provide them with the type of skills demanded by the job market, the program director shall promptly advise the school-to-work council of such finding. Accordingly, the program director shall prepare forthwith and present to the council a comprehensive education reform plan that will more effectively integrate career planning and employability skills into curriculum and work-based learning. The reform plan must assure that all American Samoa public school students are provided with an excellent system of education so that the elementary school students and the high school and community college graduates can be fully prepared for gainful employment or entry into institutions of higher learning.
(2) Workforce development. The school-to-work program shall develop and implement a workforce development program that coordinates all the Territory's education and training. Basically, the program should serve to link students moving from all levels of education including the community college to pursue and acquire gainful employment. The program should have a database that can provide youths who need information and training to improve their skills in order to find and secure jobs.
(3) Youth apprenticeship. A youth apprenticeship program shall be established and administered by the school-to-work program. The program director shall coordinate and consult with the department of education when developing policies and procedures for the youth apprenticeship program. The policies must establish standards that employers desiring to participate in the youth apprenticeship program must meet.
(4) Tax credit. There is allowed a credit against income tax in an amount equal to ten percent of the qualified investment made by an employer who employs a youth apprentice in a qualified school-to-work program.
(A) A "qualified investment" is defined as money directly spent for wages, workers' compensation insurance, and training expenses.
(B) A "youth apprentice" is defined as someone between the ages of 16 and 21 who is enrolled in a public or private secondary or postsecondary school.
(5) Workers compensation. An employer who employs a youth apprentice in a qualified school-to-work program must provide workers' compensation insurance coverage for the youth. A youth in a school related work experience performing services without pay or who is otherwise not covered by workers' compensation insurance shall be deemed an employee of the government for purposes of workers' compensation.
(6) Occupational safety. It shall be the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe work site and to furnish equipment and gear required to undertake the functions of the work to be performed by the student. The school-to-work program shall adopt safety guidelines and safety inspection procedures of facilities where students are placed. A thorough safety inspection of each facility must be conducted prior to placing a student with such facility.
(7) Budget. The program director shall prepare the annual budget for the school-to-work program with input from the school-to-work council as part of the budget submission of the Department of Human Resources. The council shall review the budget proposed by the program director and make recommendations where appropriate. The school-to-work program shall apply to all federal grants and aids from which American Samoa's education to employment transition initiative may be entitled to receive financial assistance. When local and non local funds are not sufficient to cover annual operation costs of the school-to-work program, the program director shall request local funding through the department budgets of human resources, department of education and the college to supplement financial assistance received from federal funding.History: 1998, PL 25-40.