Gov. Jay Inslee today signed Senate Bill 6293, sponsored by Sen. John Braun. The new law, which won unanimous legislative approval, will allow businesses to offer industrial insurance to unpaid interns and student volunteers.
“This legislation will help expand opportunities for students to gain valuable experience in the workforce,” said Braun, R-Centralia. “Employers now have options to take on student interns, where previously they could not afford the risk of injury on the job.”
Currently, businesses may choose to cover volunteers or interns who are in high school, but they are not allowed to cover any college student who is unpaid. Braun’s legislation expands coverage to student volunteers enrolled and participating in a program authorized by any public or private school, including institutions of higher education.
Centralia College educators in the new Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management (BASM) program were instrumental in the passage of the legislation. Students in this program are required to participate in an internship for graduation.
Brian Cummings, the internship instructor, and Larry McGee, the original program director, recognized that allowing businesses to cover these students is critical to the program. “So much has changed in our state in the last 10 years to enhance educational pathways for our students,” said McGee. “We want nothing to inhibit the provision of high quality internships.”