Celebrating Ohio Internship & Co-Op Programs
A Guest Column by Senator Scott Oelslager

Internships and co-op programs are an integral part of Ohio’s education system and also play an important role in helping job seekers build new skills and matching them with job opportunities. That is why I recently co-sponsored two initiatives which promote these great programs in Ohio.
House Bill 107 will authorize grants for businesses that employ high school students in career exploration internships. Businesses can qualify for up to a $5,000 grant to hire an 11th or 12th grade student to help fund the student’s salary during the internship.
This is a great way to help our young people explore possible career paths through a hands-on experience while also putting away money to help pay for college or technical training later.
The National Association of College and Employers 2013 Internship and Co-Op survey found that 56.5% of interns are offered full-time positions, 48.8% of co-ops are offered full-time positions and, 88.9% of interns or co-op students that are hired by a company are retained after one year. 
Internships and co-ops are a great way to gain experience in the workplace and to apply practical application of things studied and learned in school.  The business is able to see the great qualities that each Ohioan may possess and what each individual can bring to the team.  Internships and co-ops are also important because they allow the individual to work inside the organization and decide if that company could be the right fit to start their professional career upon graduation.  
The Senate also recently approved Senate Bill 227, which seeks to mark the second Tuesday in April as “Ohio Internship and Co-Op Appreciation Day,” to help raise awareness for these important programs.
In the coming months, the legislature will be taking a look at other ways we can support programs that help job seekers gain experience and get their foot in the door at potential employers. One proposal contained in the Governor’s legislative mid-biennium review includes a provision to establish a program known as “Community Connectors.” This program would fund matching grants with local communities to support mentorship programs in our schools.
If you are looking for work, there are some great opportunities available in Stark County.  Here are some useful websites to help you in your search:

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if ever I can be of assistance with any state government-related issue.

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