Lt. Governor Jon Husted met with local high school and college students and business leaders on Thursday about the importance of internships and careers.
Husted spoke about gaining experience, building relationships, problem solving and education.
Husted said one of his roles as the lieutenant governor is to oversee the office of workforce transformation.
“We have a variety of career occupational opportunities in the state but we want to make sure that we’re graduating more high school students who are career ready, ready to go right out of high school, but then also making sure that there are affordable pathways to college,” he said. “But no matter whether you graduate from high school and go to work or from college and go to work, we want the businesses to be involved and the students to have those experiences earlier on in their academic careers.”
During the discussion, Husted explained the importance of engaging with students and their career development. He told students that there would be plenty of job opportunities available to them due to America’s shrinking working age population. He said in the coming years there will be a smaller number of people between ages 25 and 60 than there are right now. Husted said this problem is more severe in southeast Ohio.
“So you business owners and educators, to have a thriving economy in this part of the state requires that you really actively engage in building that workforce from rising eighth graders, all the way to people who maybe are mid-career and want a change,” he said.
Husted said this is why he and Governor Mike DeWine have put so much emphasis on internships, career tech education and college credit plus programs.
“College is great, but there are many pathways to do it,” he said. “And career tech is also a really good pathway to start, because you learn a career skill and then you can build your educational opportunity on top of it.”
Husted told a story of a career tech student who earned as many robotics credentials as possible, while graduating high school with his associate’s degree. After graduation, the student took a job at an international manufacturing company in Ohio, was paid $60,000 for his first year and also received full tuition to earn his electrical engineering degree while employed.
“That is the modern opportunity that exists,” he said.
Allison Ricket, former Building Bridges To Careers network director, discussed the BB2C internship model. Ricket said the model helps relieve the burdens of small and medium sized businesses in the area. One of the ways they do this is by having money flow through an intermediary like BB2C, so that the intermediary handles paying the students, while the businesses just facilitate the internships.
“So we take care of the liability waivers, we talk to parents, we help set the schedule and that intermediary helping that relationship really makes it easier for the business to just show up and get them to do the work,” she said.
Ricket said she has taken the BB2C internship model and has replicated it across southeastern Ohio, creating intermediaries to shepherd the work between students and businesses.
Ricket said internships are precursors to career exploration. She said it is critical for students to have that hands-on experience within the community.
Husted noted that he had previously visited BB2C in 2019. He said BB2C, Marietta as a city and its surrounding areas have come a long way in the past three years.
“You can see how it’s come along, with internships and connecting employers and educators together, for the benefit of these students and the benefit of the community,” he said. “They (BB2C) are doing some great things and that’s going to bode well for the future prosperity of this community.”