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CCTC chosen for state tech intern pilot program

One of 12 sites selected

GETAWAY — Collins Career Technical Center, through the Lawrence County Educational Service Center, will take part in a state pilot program that will introduce high school students to technology and business careers in Ohio.

CCTC was one of 12 sites in Ohio announced by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who also serves as director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, as part of the launch of the High School Tech Internship Pilot Program.

Tomi Blankenship, director of student services, said the Lawrence County ESC applied for the grant, which will be used for seniors and juniors in the information/technology and media programs at CCTC.

The pilot program was created in partnership with the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Ohio Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, along with input from Ohio’s business community.

Husted said they will be placing students in intern roles in positions such as cyber security, data cloud work and software.

“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 in his announcement, delivered via Zoom on his Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon. “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.”

The announcement launches the opportunity for Ohio employers to connect with pilot sites to offer internships and receive reimbursement for a portion of the intern’s wages. Interns will be placed in roles that focus on software, data, cloud and IT infrastructure, and cybersecurity. Students will be expected to perform job duties similar to what would be expected in an entry-level position.

Altogether, about 100 students across the 12 sites will take part in the program.

Blankenship said the ESC will be having a meeting later this week to work out specifics. She said she estimates about 10 will take part in Lawrence County.

She said CCTC, which was chosen to represent the southeastern part of the state in the pilot program, has partnered in the past with companies like Vertiv to find work for students and that NECCO has expressed interest in employing students with their IT department through the program. She said they are reaching out to potential employers in the county.

“It’s hard around here to find tech people,” she said, adding that the program will help solve that problem and give students opportunities.

Husted echoed this in his announcement.

“We created this pilot program in direct response to a need from businesses for talent,” he said.

Husted said they hope to attract nontraditional students to the positions, including those who may be new to the field.

“This is not a thing where you have to be a genius at math and science to do,” he said.

She pointed out that the program will also reimburse employers $1,250 per student toward wages, which will be above minimum wage.

Employers will also receive an extra $100 in reimbursement if they can demonstrate that the intern has earned an industry-recognized credential recognized on the Innovative Workforce Incentive Program (IWIP) List by the time of the reimbursement request.

Husted said the state hopes to expand the program beyond the initial 12 sites.

Blankenship said that businesses who would be interested in taking part in the program can contact her at the ESC office at 740-532-4223 or at tomi.blankenship@lc.k12.oh.us.