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Helping businesses give real-world experience to kids
Hitchens Bill
State Rep. Bill Hitchens

Serving as your state representative allows me the unique opportunity and great privilege to hear your concerns and hopes for the future.

Because I am not only an elected official but also a husband and father, I join you in wanting the best opportunities for the next generation of educators, business owners, farmers and laborers. It is evident that we must invest in our children so that they can carry on the mantle of a viable, flourishing Georgia.

Some of the bills addressed this week in the legislature attest to the fact that lawmakers throughout our state also have the best interest of our youth in mind as we consider practical ways to equip them for future success. HB 402 passed unanimously, which states that any business or industry that provides learning opportunities for students 16 years or older in a real-world environment, such as an internship, would receive a 5 percent reduction on their worker’s compensation insurance.

This is an amazing opportunity for our children and one in which I strongly support. When businesses and industry partner with schools and parents to help create a more educated, highly trained workforce by investing in the lives of our children, then the possibilities for our youth are endless. This type of hands-on experience can only serve to develop critical thinking in our students, a more sophisticated workforce, and confident youth who are excited about their future.

HB 801 was also passed unanimously, which states that beginning in academic year 2017-18, the cumulative grade point average for STEM courses will be weighted differently, as outlined by the Board of Regents. Specifically, if a student receives a B, C, or D, the grade will increase by 0.5 percent. The courses included in this revision must be academically rigorous and required for leading to employment in high demand fields in science, technology, engineering, and math.

This bill also allows the governor to organize a task force to identify high demand fields and associated workforce shortages. This is another initiative that favors quality education for our students and proper preparation for their future. I am pleased to know that our state is earnestly invested in the children of Georgia!

We have completed day 19 of the 40-day session. As we proceed, please know that your concerns, questions, and input are invaluable as I strive to represent you to the best of my ability. Please contact me with your thoughts at (404) 657-1803 or