COLUMBUS - The Senate passed legislation today sponsored by Senators Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) and Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) aimed at making Ohio's education system more responsive to the workforce demands of the state's 21st century economy. 

As part of an ongoing effort by state leaders, the legislation will help in developing a statewide strategy aimed at preparing the next generation of workers to take on careers in some of Ohio's most in-demand professions.

"Bridging the gap between skills of Ohio’s workers have and the skills employers need is one of the biggest economic issues we face today," said Beagle. "This legislation seeks to increase awareness about high-paying, in-demand career opportunities and to help equip the workforce of tomorrow with the skills required in a rapidly evolving 21st Century economy."

In collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education and Department of Higher Education, Ohio's major industries would help to create a statewide strategic workforce plan for enhancing project-based learning and develop professional development programs that address how to build authentic, real-world, project-based learning into the curriculum.

"Developing proactive, in-demand education and training programs will help prepare young Ohioans for success in Ohio’s current and future workforce," said Senator Balderson, who co-sponsored the bill in the Senate.

As part of an effort to connect future workers and employers, economic development leaders and education officials would be charged with developing meaningful career service opportunities based on regional workforce needs. 

A significant gap exists between the number of workers expected to hold degrees and certifications and the estimated labor force demands over the next ten years. The bill seeks to narrow this gap by strengthening the connection between the state's business and education communities. 

Throughout his time in the Ohio Senate, Beagle has been a leading voice in addressing Ohio's workforce needs. Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Senator Beagle in 2013, invested $25 million in a state revolving loan fund to train unemployed and underemployed workers for in-demand jobs. Loans from the fund were used to provide individuals training through public and private colleges, universities and career centers.

Senate Bill 3 now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration. 
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