SPRINGFIELD – Students who participate in a work-based learning experience, like Future Farmers of America or 4-H program competitions or exhibitions, will be able to count the time outside of the classroom as hours of school work thanks to a measure championed by State Senator Doris Turner that was signed into law Monday.

“As a strong supporter of ag education, I advocated for the FFA and 4-H program students who have been jeopardized for missing class to participate in competitions,” said Turner (D-Springfield). “Learning through hands-on experiences, especially in the agriculture industry, is a great way for students to expand their wealth of knowledge.”

Turner’s new law allows students to count hours that they participate in a work-based learning experience as hours of school work. The initiative includes participation in scheduled events of state and national Future Farmers of America associations as well as 4-H programs as part of organized competitions or exhibitions – something Turner strongly advocated for.

Illinois FFA is a youth organization that prepares members for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. 4-H is the largest out-of-school youth organization across the state aimed at teaching practical skills to youth by offering lessons in communications, leadership, career development, livestock, home improvement and computer technology.

“This is one step forward to continue encouraging students to learn about agriculture and what the industry has to offer,” said Turner. “I’m excited for our youth to be able to learn both inside and outside of the classroom.”

House Bill 3814 takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.