COLUMBUS—State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) announced the passage of legislation creating OhioCorps, a bill that includes provisions from legislation he joint sponsored with Rep. Scott Ryan (R-Granville Township) that is aimed at helping Ohio’s students, specifically those who are at-risk.

House Bill 508, which was originally passed by the House in April, was amended into Senate Bill 299 during the legislative process. This bill also makes critical investments to support and preserve the health of Lake Erie and its tributaries

OhioCorps is a mentoring program that would be initiated at Ohio colleges to help at-risk students, which are primary or secondary school students who are at least 13 years of age and who have an expected family contribution of zero dollars or are impacted by family opioid addiction. An appropriation of $2.5 million was included to fund the program, which will be implemented statewide.

“I’m excited about this program because it helps young adults receive the training, certificates, and apprenticeships that lead to jobs and self-confidence, and it will help them on the right track in life,” said Reineke. “These stackable skills and post-secondary credentials can be the foundations of their future educational pursuits, which provide student purpose and supply our work force needs. Both the student and the taxpayer win.”

OhioCorps would provide funding to the state’s public universities and community colleges to develop and facilitate the program, which would focus on preparation for college and career planning, tutoring in reading, writing and mathematics, and opioid and drug education. It additionally would provide a stipend to enrolled college students to mentor at-risk youth, as well as offer scholarship opportunities for the at-risk youth who complete the program per the requirements specified in the bill.

Senate Bill 299 also includes the “Clean Lake 2020 Plan,” providing more than $36 million in funding for a variety of programs aimed at supporting the lake and reducing toxic algae. Nearly two-thirds of that funding will go to the Department of Agriculture for soil and water conservation districts in the Lake Erie Basin and to the Water Phosphorous Program for activities such as soil testing, tributary monitoring, water and drainage management, and an agricultural phosphorous reduction loan program.

Senate Bill 299 passed both the House and Senate unanimously and now awaits consideration by Governor Kasich.

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