Ohio House Passes "Ohio High School Career Opportunity Act"
HB 98 gives skilled trades and other recruiters two opportunities per year to speak with students in grades 9-12
Posted November 30, 2017 by Majority Caucus

The Ohio House unanimously passed legislation Wednesday to guarantee the skilled trades and other kinds of career recruiters (medical centers, universities, manufacturers, military recruiters, etc.) a minimum of two opportunities per year to speak with Ohio students in grades 9-12 about potential career paths. Ohio’s public school districts will not be able to outright refuse access, although they would be able to establish an application process for employers and recruiters.

Sponsored by State Representatives Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Kristen Boggs (D-Columbus), the legislation is actively supported by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, various skilled trade groups, manufacturing companies and even a director of talent acquisition at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, all of whom say Ohio schools have not always welcomed these recruiters.

“Right now, it is very easy for an Ohio high school to simply ignore a recruiter, because there’s no law giving them a right to speak with students,” said Rep. Duffey, who also chairs the Ohio House Higher Education and Workforce Development committee. “And frankly, there’s a lot of pressure to send every student to college. However, that is an unrealistic goal. It’s time to encourage conversations with students about the many high paying jobs that exist in the skilled trades – many of which require no college debt and often pay surprisingly high wages utilizing on-the-job training. ”

Duffey began working on this legislation after attending a Columbus Metropolitan Club presentation on June 20, 2015 at which then Columbus Chamber President Michael Dalby presided. Panelists included Karen Bryer, director of talent acquisition at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center as well as Dennis Duffey (no relation to Rep. Duffey), secretary-treasurer of the Ohio State Building Construction Trades Council.  During that panel session, each panelist expressed frustration that Ohio’s high schools could be unhelpful in providing access to students to speak about careers.

“This bill will provide Ohio students the opportunity to learn about career opportunities immediately available upon graduation,” Rep. Boggs said.  “As college costs soar, it’s incredibly important for young adults to know all of their options so they can construct a pathway to success that best fits their life.”

Under current Ohio law, Ohio high schools can refuse access for nearly all recruiters, leaving public universities, trade schools and military recruiters without an appeal process.

The Ohio House passed HB 98 with a unanimous vote. The legislation now heads to the Ohio Senate for possible committee hearings and floor vote.

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