Ohio grants will fund college internships

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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- An $11 million investment by the state of Ohio will create as many as 3,500 internships and co-ops for college students and may help fight the "brain drain" from the Buckeye State, officials said.

The investment next year is part of the state's strategy to align higher education curriculum with workforce skills in demand in fields such as aerospace and advanced manufacturing. Experts say it could also help keep Ohio college graduates in the state and draw key industries to Ohio.

The Dayton Daily News reported Friday that the grants will be funded through casino license fees and are contingent upon the approval of the Ohio Controlling Board in January.

"These awards are meant to provide Ohio employers with opportunities to benefit from the talents of Ohio's college and career technical students," said Chancellor Jim Petro. "And they'll provide students with valuable internship or co-op experience."

In total, 10 colleges and 13 public or private universities will receive grants, which require matching funds from employers. The University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University and Wright State University will receive the highest amounts, at $1.8 million, $1.5 million and $1.3 million, respectively.

"This will help us keep a lot of our best and brightest in the area and allow us to attract students who left our region for higher education and co-ops to come back to the region," said Joseph Slater, assistant dean of Wright State's College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Slater said Wright State will work with local employers to find funds to create the 193 internship positions it originally submitted for approval to the state because of the need for people to fill jobs in the area. Wright State was given a state grant for about 100 internships, according to the Board of Regents.

Training more students is important for high-paying fields such as aerospace and advanced manufacturing, where area employers say they have more jobs than skilled workers.

"When we're educating our students right here in our region, we would like to retain some of that talent," said Shelley Cassady, Miami University's career, co-op and internship services regional director. "Co-oping is a big incentive to helping students find jobs right here after they graduate. And that will help keep key industries right here in Ohio."

Other institutions receiving grants include Antioch College, Central State University, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Clark State Community College, Miami University, Sinclair Community College and University of Dayton.

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com