Finding a good job takes a lot of work. For young people especially, the decisions they make over the course of their early lives are compiled into a one- or two-page resume that potential employers will be looking at someday. So it is important that they do things that will make them stand out above all the rest.

But beyond simply choosing the right school or the right major or having a high GPA, employers like to see “real-world” experience before deciding on a hire. As most people know, internships have long provided great opportunities for people (of all ages, but particularly young people) to acquire on-the-job skills that helps them find a job later on.

Legislation passed out of the Ohio House last month that will incentivize businesses to accept high school student interns. More specifically, House Bill 107, sponsored by Rep. Nan Baker of Cuyahoga County, establishes a pilot project that will provide $1 million in grants to businesses that bring on high school students to internships.

The $1 million project would not require additional taxpayer money, but rather would be funded by money that is left over from a casino licensing fund that was specifically earmarked for workforce development initiatives.

Although the bill is pretty straightforward, there are some important stipulations. For example, only businesses that primarily operate in Ohio would be eligible, and they are limited to no more than three grants per year. The size of the grant would be 50 percent of the wages paid to student interns, capped at a maximum of $5,000.

Ohio is filled with great schools, and they do a tremendous job of preparing our young people for their various career choices. But just like a football player cannot perform at his best until he has been tested in a real game and not just practice, being able to see the workplace first-hand provides opportunities that the classroom simply cannot.

I was proud to support this legislation, and have my amendment accepted which makes all students eligible. It will help high school-aged students attain skills and can equip them with additional knowledge about what career path they really want to pursue.

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