When this 131st General Assembly began, our House Republican caucus, under the leadership of House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, developed an initiative for new legislation that would help Ohioans now and in the future. Titled “Ohio 2020”, we are seeking to make lasting improvements in economic competitiveness, energy, education and healthcare. One large piece of this vision is the Workforce Grant Program.

House Bill 1, sponsored by Representative Kirk Schuring and myself, seeks to establish this program, which would award grants to students pursuing degrees or certifications required for a job considered to be in demand in Ohio.  With our state’s economy rebounding steadily since 2011, it is important for us to develop a skilled workforce to fill these positions and keep qualified, well-trained Ohioans at work in our state.

Under the proposed Workforce Grant Program, students could be awarded grants of up to $5,000 per year to assist in their education. These grants would incentivize this necessary training to help these young professionals get their careers started.

The Ohio Board of Regents would promote the program to high school and first-year college students in Ohio. As someone born and raised in Lorain County, where we have many great institutions such as Lorain County Community College and Lorain County Joint Vocational School, as well as our area high schools, I would love to see my bill be turned into law to help our young people attain gainful employment with the skills they could build.  I am also happy to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Roy Church, President of LCCC, to ensure that this bill meets the needs of our students.

Dr. Church commented on the bill:

“Continuing Ohio’s economic growth depends on skilled talent to fill high-demand jobs in growth industries.  HB 1 is a strategic workforce development initiative that attracts talent to pursue education and training programs that lead to good paying jobs. For companies it helps meet the talent gaps that can hinder their growth and gives them a first look at an employee through the required internship.  I applaud Representative Manning and Representative Schuring for their leadership in introducing this important and innovative program for keeping Ohio’s economy growing and competitive.”

HB 1 was reported favorably by the House Economic and Workforce Development Committee and is now being referred to the House Finance Committee. I hope to see its quick passage, and will continue to work to help our state compete both nationally and globally. As with all state government related issues, I hope you won’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.

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