The Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and the Ohio Department of Education have announced the list of industry-recognized credentials eligible for $34 million under the new Innovative Workforce Incentive Program.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly developed the program to create more opportunities for students to earn in-demand, industry-recognized credentials.
The program includes $9 million in the state’s two-year budget for grants to assist school districts, community schools, joint vocational schools, and STEM schools in establishing credential programs to prepare students for careers in priority industry sectors. Schools have begun applying for a share of the funding via the state’s Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan grant application process.
School districts are also eligible to receive a share of $25 million over the current state budget to encourage the start of additional credential programs. Under this program, schools can receive $1,250 for each qualifying credential earned by students.
“When Ohio students graduate high school, they should be college or career ready,” DeWine said. “This program helps schools expand credentialing opportunities and ensures potential employers that students have the skills they need to succeed in high-wage, in-demand fields.”
“We must prepare Ohio’s workforce to earn the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly tech-infused economy, and we need to seize the opportunity to do so before they graduate from high school. This announcement reinforces the administration’s commitment to providing more opportunities for Ohioans to earn in-demand, industry-recognized credentials, offering a pathway to better paying and higher quality career options,” said Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, who serves as director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.
“Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce,” said Paolo DeMaria, state superintendent of public instruction. “We are committed to supporting students in acquiring relevant, marketable skills that empower them to achieve success in Ohio’s emerging and priority industries. Innovative Workforce Incentive Program Funds will make it possible for schools to develop the programs students need to earn in-demand credentials.”
The Innovative Workforce Incentive Program aligns with Ohio’s five-year strategic plan for education, Each Child, Our Future. The plan states that each child will see the relevance of his or her learning, be exposed to practical, real-world work settings, and begin defining his or her future during high school.
Industry-recognized credentials are an innovative approach to ensuring that high school inspires students to identify paths to future success. Such credentials also offer students many ways to demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed for high school graduation and beyond. Credentials also benefit employers by validating the knowledge and skills of potential employees.