Stimulus package includes $250 mill

Jackie Valley

Strickland’s new plan aligns to Fingerhut’s master vision for higher education

A bipartisan economic stimulus package announced yesterday by Gov. Ted Strickland and legislative leaders allots $250 million for higher education to help keep graduates in Ohio.

Higher education’s share of the total $1.57 billion jobs stimulus package caters to a strategy identified in Chancellor Eric Fingerhut’s master plan released Monday – strengthening ties between academia and the business community by increasing the number of students in internships and co-ops.

The Higher Education Workforce Initiative “aims to keep more college-educated Ohioans in the state by linking them with good internships, cooperative education programs and jobs while they earn degrees,” according to the press release.

Other parts of the package include funding for emerging industries, such as bio-based products, biomedical industries and advanced and renewable energy, in addition to infrastructure improvements.

“This bipartisan jobs stimulus plan will create jobs, make us a leader in emerging industries and establish the foundation for long-term growth and prosperity in Ohio,” Strickland said in a statement.

President Lester Lefton said the initiative is an “innovative way for students and employers to be subsidized to facilitate students staying in Ohio.”

Patricia Myers, director of government relations, said the funds will go to universities and colleges to set up internships and co-ops with businesses and universities. The schools will also create targets and goals in line with the initiative.

Myers said she expects a bill implementing the changes to be introduced in the legislature next week. Fingerhut will also convene a task force to set up the guidelines for schools to submit requests for proposals to obtain the funds.

Myers said she is pleased to see government leaders already acting to implement parts of the 10-year strategic plan for higher education that stand to benefit the state’s economy and students.

“The chancellor is moving quickly,” she said. “That’s for certain.”

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].