A new internship program could link high school technology students with local employers, part of state officials’ continuing push to get high-achieving students to stay in Ohio as adults.
Companies that sign up for the Tech Internship Pilot Program will be connected with qualifying students or new high school graduates for positions in software, data, cloud and IT infrastructure, and cybersecurity, according to Lt. Governor Jon Husted’s office.
To encourage participation, the Ohio Development Services Agency will reimburse the employers for a portion of each intern’s wages. Husted spokeswoman Hayley Carducci said as long as the position offers at least $12 an hour for a minimum of 150 hours, ODSA will reimburse companies $1,250 for interns 17 or younger, and $1,000 for interns age 18 or 19.
The pilot program is approved for 100 students statewide.
“Ohio has high school students who have demonstrated competency in these tech areas at the same level as many people already in the workforce,” Husted said. “We know students stay in Ohio if they are connected to businesses at an earlier age, and that’s exactly what this pilot is doing. The solution to your workforce shortage may be right under your nose at your local high school.”
There are 12 pilot sites statewide, including the Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) and the Greene County Career Center (GCCC) locally. Brett Doudican, curriculum specialist for GCCC, said the school’s programs in information technology, cybersecurity, digital design and development, and video and animation all could feed into the Tech Internship program.
“We will focus on students participating between the junior and senior years and carrying over throughout the remainder of their high school career,” Doudican said. “We hope to have students placed this summer.”
MVCTC offers programs in computer networking and cybersecurity, coding and web applications, and computer repair and technical support. Both career centers said the student, CTC instructor and employer would work together to make sure a student’s skills are a match for what the company needs.
While the listed internship fields are heavily computer-based, state officials said that doesn’t mean only computer or tech companies can participate.
“Technology is a major part of the modern economy, and critical for businesses in all industries,” Carducci said. “This program is open to all companies, including manufacturers, looking to connect with great young talent and grow an educated and trained technology workforce.”
Both GCCC and MVCTC have existing relationships with companies that could come into play.
“MVCTC has an established work-based learning program with successful business/industry partnerships,” Superintendent Nick Weldy said. “There is potential to continue to foster existing partnerships while developing new opportunities with this program.”
Any employers interested in offering internships via this program can contact a pilot site by visiting Workforce.Ohio.gov/HSTechInternship. Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, said the state hopes to expand the program to more students in the future.
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