Ohio jobs proposal to be funded in 2018-2019 budget


DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - It's crunch time to get the new state budget approved, and a major focus for Gov. Kasich this year is funneling more workers into high-demand jobs, like technology and manufacturing.

In 2012, Kasich launched the Office of Workforce Transformation, with the goal to identify challenges between students and employers. In December, that office released a series of initiatives to be funded in the 2018-2019 budget. Kasich has backed several points in the plan.

One recommendation would include creating an annual "In-Demand Jobs Week," where middle and high school students can connect to job fairs, or tour companies with much-needed occupations. Another would require local school boards to appoint regional business leaders, representing economic interests.

It's good news for instructors at Sinclair Community College, who told Fox 45's Shavon Anderson there's around seven jobs available for every one student within high-demand programs. Also, 80 percent of students had a job within 30 days of graduating. But, it's the stigma behind the industry that's leaving employers short-handed.

"Much of that is due to the fact that the general population doesn't understand what advanced manufacturing is," said Tony Ponder, Dean of the College of Science, Math and Engineering. "Today's advanced manufacturing is high-tech."

With specifically-skilled certification programs, Sinclair is working to shift the outdated perception of manufacturing as dusty facilities, single-skilled stations.

In a campaign video from 2012, Governor Kasich spoke about the need for change.

"It's matching up Ohio's workforce training programs with industry and demand, to make sure Ohioians are getting the skills they need for the jobs employers are creating," he said.

Even with the state's push, faculty said it's when students graduate high school, they get lost.

"For years, higher education has typically meant a four-year baccalaureate degree," said Ponder.

Companies are encouraging students to opt for alternatives, like technical training an associate's degrees because they need workers immediately. However, some of the proposals could be tricky. Research reports 65 percent of students are predicted to work in jobs that don't even exist yet. The state's take: even if students have the baseline training, they'll be ready for almost anything.

"Many times, they'll have a job before they've even left the institution," said Ponder.

Sinclair recently got a state grant for regional employers to send their workers back to school at low cost. In terms of the budget, it's still unclear how much will ultimately be set aside, and which recommendations will be included.

The deadline is June 30.

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