Higher education is much different than it was ten years ago. A traditional four-year plan seemed to be the path most students took, but after the Great Recession, college loan debt and a lack of jobs for those with liberal arts degrees became a prominent issue. Young adults were graduating college with a great education, but thousands of dollars in debt with limited prospects. Our higher education system hadn’t yet adjusted to the emerging changes in the workforce and technology industries.
Ohio is an excellent state for higher education, with a wealth of community colleges and private and public universities at which to study. Our institutions have come a long way in response to the changing landscape of industry, collaborating with the state and local workforce organizations to make it easier for students to afford college and get a job. We’ve enacted tuition controls and created policies that encourage pathways toward in-demand jobs, like those in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Just this week, The Ohio State University announced a unique, first-of-its-kind partnership with Apple, creating the Digital Flagship University initiative. Through this program, an iOS design laboratory will be established on campus, combining an opportunity for students to learn coding skills and app development with advanced learning technology to enhance their educational experience.
Additionally, southwestern Ohio continues to remain competitive through a new relationship between Wilmington College and Sinclair Community College. Students who have completed an Associate’s degree in biotechnology at Sinclair will now be able to seamlessly enroll at Wilmington College to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in biotechnology. This change will allow students to more easily obtain a degree in a top, up-and-coming field.
These and other efforts by colleges and universities across the state are doing so much to prepare our students for the jobs that are available today and that will continue to be prominent for years to come. Our world has become fast-paced and ever-changing, and our workforce needs to be able to keep up and adjust. Such initiatives as these will help ensure that Ohio is competitive on a worldwide basis, cultivating skilled and capable students to be the best they can be.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.