Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, also wants more out-of-state students to choose higher education in Ohio by offering 100 merit-based scholarships to the top students in other states.

“I’m excited to be joined with leaders of higher education and business to announce fresh ideas and creative solutions to help recruit and retain Ohio’s future workforce, increase our population and widen our tax-base for a more robust and stronger economy,” Cross said.  “The primary focus of this legislation is to incentivize Ohio’s younger population to live, learn, work and prosper in Ohio vs. leaving the state after graduation.”

The Grow Ohio Act would provide four incentives that center around college recruitment, degree advancement, business-education partnerships and workforce retention.

The first allows a student who graduates from an Ohio college and takes a full-time job in the state to receive a 100% refundable state income tax payment for up to three years of employment.

The bill also would create the Choose Ohio First Program, which consists of 100 scholarships of $25,000 available to out-of-state students who enroll in any Ohio four-year college or university. Students, however, must be in the top 5% of their high school graduating class and must pursue a degree with in a STEM field. The scholarship will be a forgivable loan if the student stays in Ohio after graduation.

An Ohio employer also would earn a 30% refundable credit of paid wages for a paid internship, and students who have finished an associate’s degree and want to earn a bachelor’s degree would be able to receive an additional Ohio College Opportunity Grant.

“I am honored to join Rep. Cross for the introduction of the GROW Ohio Act, a piece of legislation that will be vital in our quest to grow Ohio’s workforce,” Ohio Chamber of Commerce President Steve Stivers said. “Young people are a valuable asset for a thriving economy. In conjunction with other partnerships and strategic plans, this bill will make it more attractive for this population to build their careers and lives in Ohio, strengthening our state’s position as a leading force in business.”

The bill has been filed with the Ohio House clerk’s office to start the legislative process.

Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.