COLUMBUS – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) participated in a “Future of Workforce” panel discussion Saturday at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) with Amazon, the Columbus Partnership, Columbus State Community College, and other regional leaders to discuss how stakeholders are working together to ensure central Ohio is well-positioned to meet the workforce needs of area employers today and in the future.
The discussion also highlighted the launch of Amazon’s Career Choice program for central Ohio, which Portman helped announce yesterday morning in Etna. Career Choice is Amazon’s tuition assistance program for hourly associates, paying 95 percent of tuition expenses for Amazon associates who have been with the company at least one year to pursue certificates or associate degrees in fields of study that are specifically targeted for in demand jobs, including healthcare, manufacturing, IT/computer science, and commercial driving.
“Educational incentive programs like Amazon’s Career Choice are vital to ensuring that we continue to aim to educate and help prepare individuals for the workforce,” Portman said. “I was pleased to see many community and business leaders participated in yesterday’s event. Great ideas were shared and I look forward to a growing partnership between local businesses and Amazon to ensure that individuals are prepared and aware of career opportunities.”
As co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, Portman introduced the bipartisan CTE Excellence and Equity Act to support re-designing the high school experience to include courses more relevant to the 21st century workforce to better prepare students for future careers. Last year, he led the bipartisan effort to raise the quality of CTE and joined Senator Kaine to introduce the bipartisan JOBS Act to help students access training for the 5.5 million vacant jobs that are unfilled in part because of a shortage of qualified workers. Last month, Portman introduced the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act that will create a teacher residency grant program to help address the CTE teacher shortage in schools.