From Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 before the House Economic and Workforce Development Committee …
Thank you Madam Chair and members of the committee for the opportunity to give sponsor testimony on House Bill 1.
House Bill 1 matches higher education students in Ohio with the in-demand jobs in our state. It establishes a higher education workforce grant program that is designed to incentivize students to attain certificates or degrees that will fit an in-demand job in Ohio. It will provide a pathway for students that will lead to a well-paying secure job. It also will address employer’s demands for high quality workers.
The following are some key points of the program:
- Grants will be distributed using a performance based method based on annual maximum award of $5,000. The grant will be dispersed proportionally based on the program’s duration. There will be a specific dollar amount available at the start of the student’s studies and the remainder will be dispersed proportionally at various milestones in route to attaining a credential, certificate, or degree.
- There will be an experiential component to the grant criteria. A student will be required to spend 30 to 90 days in a workplace setting that matches the in-demand job the student is seeking. Assistance will be provided in finding an employer for the match.
- The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services will be used to determine the in-demand jobs. Grants will be coordinated with degrees and/or certificates of education that match the in-demand jobs.
- Rules will be promulgated by the Ohio Board of Regents regarding programmatic components of the Grant. Soft skills needed by employers will be embedded in curriculum content. Rules also will address counseling students about the proper management of student loans, which is required of all students on financial aid.
- A 25% tax credit on student loans will be available for students who successfully complete the program and secure the in-demand job.
In summary, House Bill 1 will meet employers’ demands for educated employees who will help their businesses to compete, win, and grow. To that end, not only will businesses grow but Ohio’s economy will grow and the standard of living of Ohioans will improve. Moreover, it will keep Ohio’s talent right here in Ohio and stem the tide of outbound migration to other states that has plagued our state for too long.
The bill is supported by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges and the Inter University Council.