by J.D. Davidson


Business groups praised the passage of a bill they say makes it easier for Ohio employers to train and hire student workers.

The legislation, if signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, establishes the Student Pathways to Career Success Grant Program, which would give businesses financial incentives and creates a two-year pilot program that would allow a workers’ compensation premium discount to an employer with a work-based learning experience for students.

The bill also gives a 15% tax credit for employers from wages paid to students in a career-technical education program.

“The state of Ohio has been thoughtful in its efforts to increase interest in technical education through the creation of mentorship programs and creation of industry sector partnerships between employers and their local schools,” Ohio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Stivers said. “The passage of SB 166 is a crucial next step in that partnership effort.”

Stivers called the legislation one of the chamber’s 10 priority bills, adding workforce concerns are the top issues facing Ohio employers.

“If we want a workforce trained in the jobs of tomorrow, we need to ensure we are training our students today, so they are prepared to meet the demand,” Stivers said.

The Governor’s Office of Workforce Development would be required to work with the Department of Education, the chancellor of Higher Education, and JobsOhio to create the incentive program that establishes financial incentives for Ohio businesses to provide work-based learning.

“The current pathway for students to pursue a career in a technical vocation is severely under-utilized and difficult to navigate,” Sen. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, said. “We owe our future workforce better pathways for career success, and Senate Bill 166 is a step in the right direction.”

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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is a regional editor for The Center Square.