In a booming economy with the large Baby-Boom generation retiring, employers everywhere are asking government and economic development leaders for help to address the lack of skilled workers jeopardizing economic success. In fact, a recent study found that 65% of Ohioans need a bachelors’ degree, associate degree or certificate for the state to serve just its current base of employers. Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted have introduced an aggressive approach to solving Ohio’s workforce shortage problems. In the Investing in Ohio’s Future budget rollout and with this week’s formal introduction of House Bill 166, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted have added details to their proposals.
A big focus in the workforce space is bringing more resources to job training and support. The budget bill proposal invests $200 million new dollars in workforce initiatives, and with the creation of InnovateOhio, which is headed up by Lt. Governor Husted technology and innovation are one of the primary focus points of the budget as well.
The proposal does a number of specific things including investing $15 million invested into providing Industry Recognized credentials. The goal is to provide 10,000 Ohioans a year at no cost the ability to receive training to work in growing industries in Ohio. An additional $25 million per year is invested in a similar program for high school students.
The proposal looks to invest in Ohio’s students by increasing funding to the Ohio College Opportunity Grant as well as the Choose Ohio First scholarships. Increasing these programs by a combined $71 million to help support students looking to further their education beyond high school.
Looking towards the future the budget proposal invests $1.5 million into computer science and coding training for Ohio teachers. This program will help train almost 900 new computer science teachers in Ohio, providing students with the opportunity to have quality computer science education in their schools.
New funding including investments for individuals with disabilities to expand employment opportunities, regional job training partnerships; with an investment of $5 million to better align the 75 job training programs across 12 state agencies, and investing in the next generation of tech professionals by expanding the Diversity and Inclusion Technology Internship Program into high schools to provide earlier opportunities for female and minority students looking to gain experience with start-up businesses. These initiatives look to continue to build on past program success.
The administration is also increasing investment in programs supporting servicemembers by increasing investment in the National Guard Scholarship and increasing funding for the War Orphans Scholarship.
The budget proposal also has a focus to improve the OhioMeansJobs program with targeted investment of $146 million of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs.
The administration’s focus on workforce development along with interest from the Ohio General Assembly makes this issue prime for a lot of attention during the deliberations of House Bill 166.
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