A new scholarship will boost Ohio’s efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The scholarship, part of the Choose Ohio First (COF) program, will support an estimated 3,400 Ohio students who are new to the program, along with an additional 3,000 existing COF scholars. The scholarship was announced by Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) Chancellor Randy Gardner after the award total of $69,826,882, to be awarded over the next five years, was approved by the State Controlling Board.
“The Choose Ohio First scholarship is helping Ohio students get a head start on their future careers, preparing them for in-demand jobs including coding and cybersecurity,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who led efforts to create the program as then-Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. “This new investment shows how valuable a STEM education – and keeping those students in Ohio – is to the state. I encourage high school students to consider the Choose Ohio First program as they are looking at their future college education.”
This new COF scholarship will support students completing programs in the STEM disciplines at 57 colleges and universities across the state, including several schools that are new to the program.
“Choose Ohio First provides an excellent opportunity for those students who stay in Ohio and continue their education to get the skills they need to succeed in promising career fields,” Chancellor Gardner said. “This new scholarship exemplifies the state’s growing commitment to Choose Ohio First, and I’m pleased so many new colleges and universities are participating in the program.”
The Choose Ohio First scholarship program began in 2008 in an effort to increase the number of Ohio students enrolling in and successfully completing STEM programs at Ohio’s public and independent colleges and universities.
The latest COF awards are part of a focused strategy to increase enrollment and completion in STEM fields to strengthen Ohio’s talent pipeline in STEM occupations and related industries. ODHE is also promoting the use of COF funds to assist students to obtain credentials and certificates in STEM areas, with a special emphasis on computer science and related technology fields, allowing them to add more demonstrated skills to their portfolio.
Community colleges, independent four-year colleges and universities, and public four-year universities are receiving funds. Chancellor Gardner said this range of school participation demonstrates the commitment of Ohio’s higher education community to respond to student interests and the state’s economic needs. ODHE will also prioritize work-based student learning opportunities through STEM internships and co-ops to help students transition effectively to the STEM workforce after graduation.
About the Ohio Department of Higher Education
The Ohio Department of Higher Education is a Cabinet-level agency for the Governor of the State of Ohio that oversees higher education for the state. The agency’s main responsibilities include authorizing and approving new degree programs, managing state-funded financial aid programs and developing and advocating policies to maximize higher education’s contributions to the state and its citizens.
About the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation
The Office of Workforce Transformation's mission is to connect Ohio's business, training, and education communities to build a dynamically skilled, productive, and purposeful workforce.