State Representative Christina M. Hagan (R-Marlboro Township) has introduced a bill that is aimed at increasing Ohio’s skilled labor workforce by giving high school students a viable option that can be an alternative or a compliment to college. It is designed to do this through an expansion of the Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEO) that currently exists.

Currently, post secondary education is geared only toward students who plan to go to college. The bill is designed to create another option for students who plan to enter the workforce directly after high school by creating a subprogram of the PSEO. This subprogram allows students to receive high school credit while working towards achieving their certified apprenticeship certification through classroom and work experience in a skilled trade setting by participating in a certified apprenticeship program.

This will allow students who are interested in joining the workforce directly after receiving their diploma to have already gained valuable on-the-job training and experience, while still earning credits towards graduation. Students will find this option both rewarding and financially advantageous, as they have the option to earn a paycheck while still having the ability to participate in extra-curricular activities without missing the high school experience.

On the bill, Representative Hagan released the following statement:

“We are an incredibly diverse state with ever-growing opportunities, and what we value as higher education should be reflective of just that. Our generation faces tremendous debt. I believe working with your hands is equally valuable to working behind a desk and if I can help students to have more options into career exploration that may lighten the financial burden of their future lives, I have accomplished my goal. This program allows students to gain the necessary experience in order to be competitive when entering the full-time workforce upon high school graduation if their path of choice is not on a college campus.

“My brothers and I share many commonalities, work ethic, and the desire to serve others; there are many ways to do this. I am the youngest, the first in my immediate family to obtain a college degree, and have the highest debt-to-income ratio. My brothers are a plumber, electrician and fireman, and they have bought their first homes and started their families. I trail behind working two jobs to pay down the school debt that I have obtained. I value my education and am thankful that I was able to participate in PSEO as a high school senior to lighten my future education debt. I hope my story will encourage students to take part in these invaluable programs that allow you to opt into your college or career path early for a brighter future.”

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