Affiliated Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades unions may now have an easier time discussing apprenticeships with area high school students following a recent vote in the Ohio State House.
House members voted unanimously to approve House Bill 98, the Ohio High School Career Opportunity Act, which gives equal opportunity for representatives from colleges and universities, the armed forces, skilled trades, businesses and charitable organizations to present information on future career and post-graduate opportunities to high school students.
H.B. 98 now moves to the Senate for possible committee hearings and a floor vote. If passed by the Senate, it will become law and give the building trades more access to public schools to speak to students about careers in the building trades.
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Rep. Kristen Boggs (D-Columbus) and supported by numerous Building Trades Councils, their affiliated JATCs and other groups, this bill has the potential to increase the amount of students applying to apprenticeships because it allows the building trades, among other groups, the ability to talk with public high school students twice a year.
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6 Director of Training George Boots believes this bill will not only help the trades gain apprentices, but will open up communication with parents, students and the trades.
“Students know nothing about the building trades, as most schools have dropped their vocational training in hopes that all their students go to college,” said Boots. “If we open the communication with the students, I hope that the students will go home and talk to their parents.”
Not all students can afford to go to college and the opportunity to earn and learn through a building trades apprenticeship offers students the ability to begin an in-demand career and avoid massive college debt.
“This bill will provide Ohio students the opportunity to learn about career opportunities immediately available upon graduation,” Rep. Boggs said. “As college costs soar, it’s incredibly important for young adults to know all of their options so they can construct a pathway to success that best fits their life.”
Under current Ohio law, Ohio high schools can refuse access for nearly all recruiters, leaving public universities, trade schools and military recruiters without an appeal process.
“Right now, it is very easy for an Ohio high school to simply ignore a recruiter, because there’s no law giving them a right to speak with students,” said Rep. Duffey. “It’s time to encourage conversations with students about the many high paying jobs that exist in the skilled trades – many of which require no college debt and often pay surprisingly high wages utilizing on-the-job training.”