LIMA — Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration is requesting $200 million for 2020-2021 to fund workforce training initiatives and scholarships for in-demand careers.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who oversees the Office of Workforce Transformation, told The Lima News on Tuesday that the purpose of the initiative is to address the “skills mismatch” for employers who are unable to find qualified talent now that unemployment has fallen.
“We have a demographic issue over the next 10 years, we’re going to see more people leave the workforce than come into the workforce because more people are turning 65 than turning 18,” Husted said. He described the workforce initiative as “employer driven,” with in-demand skills identified by the state’s employers taking top priority.
The budget seeks $50 million over two years for high school vocational programs to increase the number of industry credentials for students coming out of high school. The bulk of those funds would cover costs associated with industry credential exams and offer incentives to schools to prioritize those programs.
The proposal is also requesting $47 million to expand Ohio’s need-based college opportunity grant and another $12 million to expand the state’s Choose Ohio First scholarship for STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine) students.
Another $15 million for micro-degrees would target workers already in the workforce. Husted said Ohio employers who pay for an employee to earn an in-demand industry credential would be eligible for $500-$2,000 per employee, or up to $30,000 per company. The DeWine administration’s goal is to fund 10,000 of these micro-degrees per year.
“The employee gets trained for the job of the future with that employer and they have a credential in case some day, that employer were to go away, close shop, do whatever, the employee has something that they can prove they have a skill,” Husted said.
While similar to training grants offered by OhioMeansJobs, Husted said micro-degrees focus on in-demand credentials and are available to small, mid-sized and large employers.
The budget also seeks $5 million for regional job training partnerships so vocational curriculum better matches the needs of local employers.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.