Ohio's efforts to strengthen and expand career pathways got a boost of support today thanks to a $2 million grant from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Ohio is one of 10 states to receive a New Skills for Youth grant, which directly aligns with many of Governor John R. Kasich's Executive Workforce Board's initiatives and many Department of Education activities geared toward creating a comprehensive strategy to make sure Ohio's students are tuned into high-quality career choices and ready for the workforce of the future.

Gov. Kasich recently charged his Executive Workforce Board to make recommendations to ensure Ohio's education system is responsive to the state's changing economy and in-demand industries. Ohio will use these grant funds to support the recommendations and other related activities to enhance high-quality, rigorous career pathways that align with the needs of businesses, foster greater business-education collaboration, expand work-based learning opportunities for students and promote pathways leading to industry-recognized credentials.

"Getting kids excited about job opportunities can begin to capture their imagination," said Gov. Kasich. "By connecting employers with qualified workers, we're changing the lives of our students and strengthening Ohio's economy."

"In Ohio, we want every student to see a connection between what they are learning and future career options," said Paolo DeMaria, state superintendent of public instruction. "Ohio's strong business and education partnership will drive a comprehensive and strategic approach to excite and inspire every student about career opportunities and future success."

These grants to states, which will be distributed over the next three years, are part of the $75 million, five-year New Skills for Youth initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase, in collaboration with CCSSO and Advance CTE, aimed at strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with high-skill jobs.

"This grant helps achieve the workforce board's initiative of creating a culture of continuous learning in Ohio," said Ryan Burgess, Director of the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation.

"We're pleased Ohio competed so strongly for this grant," said Mark Slayman, commercial banking market executive for JPMorgan Chase. "As one of the state's largest employers, we recognize the importance of nurturing and maintaining a strong and qualified talent pipeline in Ohio."

In March 2016, JPMorgan Chase and CCSSO awarded Ohio a $100,000 grant as part of the first phase of the New Skills for Youth initiative for planning and early implementation of long-term career readiness education programs that align with the needs of Ohio employers. In total, 24 states and the District of Columbia received Phase I grants.

The grant awarded today represents the second phase of the New Skills for Youth initiative, which provides 10 of the original 24 recipients with funding to execute the career-readiness plans they developed during the first phase.