House Bill 98 can aid Building Trades in High School Apprenticeship Recruitment

House Bill 98 can aid Building Trades in High School Apprenticeship Recruitment

Ohio’s legislators are one step closer to helping the Columbus/Central Ohio Building Trades recruit area high school students into an apprenticeship.

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.

HB 98 now moves to the Senate for possible committee hearings and floor vote. If passed by the Senate, it will become law and give the building trades more access to public schools to expose students to careers in the building trades.

Sheet Metal Worker Local 24 Business Representative Jeff Rush speaks with an attendee at a recent Columbus job fair. If House Bill 98 becomes law, it will give more opportunities for C/COBCTC members to have similar conversations in the region's public high schools.

Sheet Metal Worker Local 24 Business Representative Jeff Rush speaks with an attendee at a recent Columbus job fair. If House Bill 98 becomes law, it will give more opportunities for C/COBCTC members to have similar conversations in the region’s public high schools.

According to Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, this bill has the potential to increase the amount of students applying to apprenticeships.

“As we expose more students to the building trades and the lucrative careers they offer, our pool of applicants should increase,” said Hager.

According to the Statehouse website, Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Rep. Kristen Boggs (D-Columbus) sponsored the bill, which was supported by numerous Building Trade Councils and their affiliated JATCs, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and manufacturing companies.

“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.

“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. ”

Hager said this legislation as a good example of why the building trades need a bi-partisan approach to the government.

“Representatives Duffey and Boggs are two great friends of the building trades and have shown that fundamentals of the building trades are bi-partisan issues – apprenticeship training, paths to the middle class, earn while you learn, etc.” said Hager, who has represented his trades at several apprenticeship recruitment events within the past month.

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