As the economic climate in Ohio continues to evolve, a recent trend that I am pleased to see is a renewed awareness of the value and need of the skilled trades in this state. With student debt rising and many young people finding themselves stuck in financial turmoil after earning their degrees, it makes sense for us as state legislators to provide support to an alternate route through skilled trade programs, which can provide Ohioans with in-demand, high paying jobs with minimal debt. The student debt epidemic is becoming a major issue, partially due to a lack of financial literacy, and I am working on two pieces of legislation to help curb this in the future.

To begin, I would like to see more of our talented young Ohioans pursue careers in the skilled trades, which are readily available and do not typically cause the debt issues that can be seen with earning a four-year college degree. I recently introduced a bill which would create a subprogram of the College Credit Plus Program that permits students to participate in certified apprenticeship programs. The College Credit Plus Program allows students to earn both college and high school credits by taking certain classes at nearby colleges. My bill would expand this provision to help students interested in the skilled trades earn credits in a certified apprenticeship program as well.  Building these skills in high school will both benefit them in their careers and save them money.

I am also working on legislation to include a financial literacy section as part of social studies courses taken by Ohio’s high school students. The legislation would include a provision to require students to review an informed student document as part of their college application process which outlines the costs of their education. I believe that providing this information and educating high school students will aid in keeping students better informed and improve their financial outcomes later in life.

I hope to see Ohioans take an interest and fill these needed, in-demand jobs. By improving financial literacy and ensuring that our students understand all the job options available to them after high school, I believe we can help curb the student debt epidemic and see a stronger, more fiscally-sound Ohio for years to come.

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