Lawmakers Propose New Recruiting Tactic to Fill Ohio Jobs: Forgive Student Loan Debt

The following article originally appeared on News5Cleveland.com and is published in The Ohio Capital Journal under a content sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets because it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.

With the release of Ohio’s new tourist video on Friday, two lawmakers have a new recruiting tactic to get more people to live in the state.

Representatives Jon Cross, a Republican from Hardin County, and Sedrick Denson, a Democrat from Cincinnati, proposed the Graduating and Retaining Ohio’s Workforce Act (GROW).

Although Governor Mike DeWine touted Intel’s success in Ohio in choosing to create a new facility in the state, a study by United Van Lines showed that Ohio ranks among the top 10 states that people leave. The state even lost a seat in Congress due to population decline.

Today, Cross and Denson offer all kinds of financial incentives to entice people to come and then stay.

“This bill is really targeted, narrowly focused on how to attract and retain college graduates,” Cross said.

The bill would help in four main ways:

  1. If a student graduating from college takes a job in Ohio rather than out of state, they will receive a 100% refundable income tax payment for up to three years.
  2. There will now be 100 $25,000 scholarships available to out-of-state students who enroll in one of Ohio’s four-year programs, if they are among the 5 Top % of their high school graduating class and pursuing studies in a STEM field. Additionally, the scholarship will be a repayable loan if they remain in Ohio after graduation.
  3. Ohio employers will get a refundable credit of 30% of wages paid for students who completed internships, apprenticeships and co-ops.
  4. Students who have completed their associate degree and wish to obtain a bachelor’s degree may obtain another scholarship.

“We’re losing too much of our talent, people aren’t finding reasons to stay here, they’re finding a lot more reasons to go to other parts of the country,” Denson said. “But what we continually hear from business owners is ‘we need talent, we need more talent, we need more talent’.”
Ohio needs to become more competitive and can’t take it for granted that just because someone was born and raised in the state, they’ll stick around, Cross added.

“We need to up our game, up our messaging, our marketing and our incentives to do this because if we don’t do it other states will,” the Republican said.

Many of Denson’s friends actually left Ohio, he said.

“That’s one of the biggest things we hear is that the debt is just too much,” the Democrat said.

For loan forgiveness, if the student stays for one year after graduation from any type of four-year program, they only need to pay 77% of the current loan, two years it’s 50% and three years is nothing.

“We think if we can have you for three years, we’ve got you for a lifetime,” Cross said with a laugh.

Now on to the cost

The Legislative Services Commission predicted it would cost the state between $50 million and $150 million over the three-year process. Under the codified law, the vast majority of any revenue loss from personal income tax would be managed by the General Revenue Fund. The rest of the losses would be managed by the Local Government Fund and the Public Library Fund.

“I think that’s a drop in the bucket from what we learned from JobsOhio that with the students leaving, it’s costing Ohio up to $367 million in lost tax revenue,” Cross said. “The bill will pay for itself if we can maintain and expand the tax base.

“I’m also arguing that at the end of the day, is this really costing taxpayers money or are we giving the students back their money that they turned over to the state government?”

It’s a win-win situation for students and the state, he said. In the long term, there will be little financial impact and much to be gained based on the number of people, a broader tax base and a stronger talent pool, he added.

“Rep. Cross and I will be out of General Assembly until we really start to see the payback we’re making today,” Denson said. “But that’s what we’re sent to Columbus for. to do, and that is to make the right decisions for the sound financial stability of Ohio.”

While there are no public opponents of the bill, educators are asking lawmakers to consider why people would want to leave the state.

“I think the first thing the Legislature could do is adopt their version of the Hippocratic Oath, which does no harm,” said Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association. “The more this Legislature passes extreme bills that limit academic freedom, that limit our ability to teach all of our students a full and honest education – [Once they stop] I think this will go a long way in helping to say that Ohio is a welcoming place for everyone and there’s no reason for people to go anywhere else to find this, whatever it is that will ignite their passion and lead to a bright future.”

Students and educators across Ohio have been mobilizing for months against the bill that would ban the teaching of “controversial” topics. Protests at the University of Akron, Kent State University and inside the Statehouse have focused on truth, fighting censorship and putting education above the public. political gain.

After News 5’s exclusive article about HB 327 sponsor’s comments on the Holocaust went international, lawmakers are trying a new way to regulate what is taught in schools, which has sparked an outcry.

House Republicans introduced Ohio’s version of Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill in early April. Like Bill 327, Bill 616 would ban the teaching of any divisive or inherently racist concepts – but it goes even further. This bill would ban the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Then a controversial new gun law has law enforcement officials and educators begging their lawmakers to stop. House Bill 99 would make it much easier for adults to carry guns in schools, relaxing regulations by about 95%.

“So really invest in our schools and stop with this silly non-issue debate of driving wedges between schools and communities on issues of race, on issues of sexual orientation,” DiMauro said. “Let’s move on to the task of ensuring that every student in Ohio State, as high quality education and educators, is nurtured and supported so that we give our students what they need and what they deserve.”

DiMauro also thinks the state should address the teacher shortage as well. By helping to strengthen the education system, more people can stay, including staff.

It was a struggle even before the pandemic hit, but now finding someone to fill in when a teacher is sick is even harder for Ohio schools.

Allowing an advanced version of a Republican-led bill could ease some of that pressure. While not everyone is happy, the need for some relief is bipartisan.

Led by Republicans with bipartisan support, another bill — HB183 — would allow local school boards to hire substitutes who don’t have a college degree. This, as long as they meet the school’s educational requirements, pass a criminal background check, and are of “good character”.

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper wants there to be stricter guidelines, such as a college education or experience supervising children. However, she knows there is a crisis.

After a back-and-forth with educators, HB183 sponsor Adam Bird, a Republican from New Richmond, heard teachers’ concerns and added an amendment to the bill that would create a study committee to get to the root of the supply teacher shortage. .

Denson responded to News 5’s question about how some students said they felt unwelcome, especially since the divisive concepts bill would impact college-level classrooms.

“We have to work to make sure we come up with smart, sensible legislation and that’s what it’s all about,” he said, referring to HB 514. “I really don’t want to put it too much with other things that are going on, but it’s definitely a reality – but we have to watch people, pay attention to whatever we’re doing that affects their space, whether they want to come here or not.

One of the things he knows is that the Legislature needs to find a way to keep working together, he said.

“While we will always have controversial bills that will keep coming up, I think what’s happening is we’re bringing more people to Ohio, we’re allowing that talent to stay in Ohio. , it allows more voices to be a little louder for all of us to sit down and come up with common sense solutions to what we’re doing,” Denson added, with Cross nodding. “This bill can open up a lot of different conversations about some of the bills you’re talking about, and so I hope it just shows that we can work together, we can listen, and we pay attention to what the people want.”

But for now, Representatives are focused on getting their bipartisan legislation through the House. He holds his third hearing on Tuesday.

Many colleges have come out in support of the bill, including OSU and the University of Akron. So far, no opponent has testified.

“Hey, we love you and we want you to love Ohio like we do – and here’s a great start,” Cross said. “If we don’t become competitive like our Saturday football teams, then we lose.”

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