A new scholarship is designed to boost Ohio’s efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce in technology-related fields such as coding and cybersecurity while supporting an estimated 1,400 Ohio students.
The scholarship, part of the Choose Ohio First (COF) program, was announced by Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner. The scholarship will support students in computer science and related areas at 35 colleges and universities across the state. A total of $20,580,770 will be awarded over the next five years after ODHE’s request was approved by the State Controlling Board.
“The Choose Ohio First program is one of our state’s best tools to increase the number of students preparing to work in STEM-related fields,” said Husted. “In today’s technology-infused economy, every industry and business has important tech-focused jobs and training Ohioans for careers in those positions is key to growing our economy.”
The Choose Ohio First scholarship program began in 2008 as a way to increase the number of Ohio students enrolling in and successfully completing science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM) programs at Ohio’s public and independent colleges and universities. Lt. Governor Husted, in his then-role as Speaker of the House, led the efforts to create the COF program in 2008. These awards continue his goal of increasing STEMM enrollment and completion statewide.
“The ongoing investment in the Choose Ohio First program demonstrates the commitment of Governor DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Husted, and the General Assembly to build a talent pipeline in Ohio to the leading technology occupations,” said Gardner. “This new focused scholarship will further strengthen the Choose Ohio First program and put more students on a path to success.”
The latest COF awards are part of a focused strategy to increase enrollment and completion in computer science and related areas. ODHE is also promoting the use of the COF funds to assist students to obtain credentials and certificates in computer science areas, allowing them to add more demonstrated skills to their portfolio.
Community colleges, independent four-year colleges and universities, and public four-year universities are receiving funds. Gardner said this range of school participation demonstrates the commitment of Ohio’s higher education community to respond to student interests and the state’s economic needs. ODHE will offer ongoing technical assistance to institutions to identify promising recruiting plans and actions to help students be work-ready through STEMM internships and co-ops.