Lessons from Ohio’s In Demand jobs week

DEAR EDITOR:

There are 236 in-demand occupations in which there are nearly 100,000 openings in Ohio. Many of those careers pay more than $50,000 a year and don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

Earlier this month, as part of “In-Demand Jobs Week,” I met employers looking for people with these in-demand skills, visited the schools that provide training for in-demand jobs and talked with the students who are taking advantage of these new pathways to educational and career success.

As part of the week’s activities, I attended signing days at several high schools and career technical centers where we celebrated students who were “signing on” to go to work with employers upon graduation. These students’ hard work earned them professional licenses or industry credentials, most had accrued college credits and many had full-time jobs with employers who also pay for college courses if they chose to extend their education.

One student I met recently was enrolled in a Robotics Automation Machinery Technology program. This student had earned all of the available robotics certifications, had accumulated enough college credits to earn an associate’s degree and upon graduation, was going to work for a global manufacturing company earning $60,000 a year with health, vacation and retirement benefits. And thanks to his school and the taxpayers, this education was earned tuition and debt free.

Many other training opportunities — from machining, computer coding, cybersecurity, welding, skilled construction trades and auto technicians, to name a few — lead to immediate job opportunities for graduates, and leave room for future college acceptance, if that is your goal.

These pathways to careers are growing in popularity. At one time, career centers (formerly called vocational schools) had second-class reputations, but today they have waiting lists and are being relied on by businesses as a place to find talent for their workforce. They offer career pathways, industry and technology credentials, and college credits. In fact, many traditional high schools are also adopting this curriculum to better serve the needs of their students.

I encourage parents, families and educators to help our young people explore the affordable career and early college pathways available through their career centers and high schools. Northeast Ohio is home to many great career centers like the Trumbull Career and Technology Center. For more information, there are some helpful resources for education and career advice at OhioMeansJobs.com/IDJ, Education.Ohio.gov/CareerTech or at a local community college, like Eastern Gateway Community College — The Valley Center.

JON HUSTED

Ohio Lt. Governor

and Director,

Workforce Transformation

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