Guest Column From Representative Mark Romanchuk
Greater Career Representation in High School Diversifies Workforce
 
 

According to the Ohio Department of Education, there are over half a million students enrolled in grades 9-12 in our state. Approximately 81 percent of these students graduate from high school and most go on to college. The number of young people aged 18 through 24 represented in the trades, industry, and the armed forces is minor compared to those continuing on to traditional higher education. An absence of exposure to all career options before graduating from high school poorly serves our students and needs to be changed.


In an effort to better serve Ohio students, the Ohio House passed House Bill 98, which states that all types of career opportunities must be given equal access to students twice a year at a minimum. Currently, schools have the right to deny the armed forces, industry, business and the trades from speaking to students at informational sessions regarding non-university career routes. This issue was brought to the attention of the legislature, and I immediately recognized how important it would be to cosponsor this bill.


The mission of the Ohio High School Career Opportunity Act is to generate equal access to all educational options available to students across the state of Ohio upon graduating from high school. Connecting students with options other than traditional higher education encourages them to research choices that they may not have realized are available. Proper representation of all professions in schools will create a dialogue for students to explore different paths which may be more suitable for each student’s interests and needs, instead of just a single track to a college degree.


With advancements in technology coming at such a rapid pace, it is crucial for Ohio to prepare our students for the future. There is a multitude of well-paying jobs going unfilled due to a lack of a skilled workforce. Many of these technical careers can be achieved through on-the-job training and certificate programs, not just a college degree. Richland County is no exception. At the time of this writing, there are approximately 1,900 jobs going unfilled with approximately 800 paying over $50,000 per year. House Bill 98 will help educate our students on the kinds of jobs that are available allowing them to pursue a pathway that is a better fit for their needs and talents.


 

 
 
 
  
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