Choose Ohio First funding aims to boost state’s tech workforce
The Ohio State University is one of 35 colleges and universities across the state to receive support from the Choose Ohio First program. The new scholarships will boost Ohio’s efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce in technology-related fields such as coding and cybersecurity.
“The Choose Ohio First program is one of our state’s best tools to increase the number of students preparing to work in STEM-related fields,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said. “In today’s technology-infused economy, every industry and business has important tech-focused jobs and training Ohioans for careers in those positions is key to growing our economy.”
A total of $20,580,770 will be awarded over the next five years and support 1,400 students. The grant for Ohio State is $2,582,790.
“This support will advance learning in areas vital to workforce development and Ohio’s innovation economy,” said President Michael V. Drake.
Building on a long-standing partnership between the College of Engineering and the College of Arts & Sciences, the Ohio State Excellence Fellowship in Computing (EFC) scholarship program will promote growth, student success, economic access, and diversity to computer science majors. College leaders will leverage the new scholarships to recruit academically-talented students into the Computer Science and Engineering bachelor's degree and Computer and Information Science bachelor's degree programs, while simultaneously increasing the participation rate of women, underrepresented minorities, and first-generation college students in these programs.
The Choose Ohio First scholarship program began in 2008 as a way to increase the number of Ohio students enrolling in and successfully completing science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM) programs at the state’s public and independent colleges and universities. Husted, who was Ohio House Speaker at the time, led the efforts to create the program.
The program's latest round of scholarships are part of a strategy to increase enrollment and completion in computer science and related areas. ODHE is also promoting the use of the funds to assist students to obtain credentials and certificates in computer science areas, 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. 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.