COLUMBUS — During a press conference this morning at the Ohio Statehouse, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and State Representatives Scott Ryan (R-Granville Township) and Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) announced new legislation aimed at helping Ohio’s students, specifically those who are at-risk.
OhioCorps is a mentoring program that would be initiated at Ohio colleges to help at-risk students, which are primary or secondary school students who are at least 13 years of age and who have an expected family contribution of zero dollars or are impacted by family opioid addiction, according to a Thursday press release from the Speaker’s office.
OhioCorps would provide funding to the state’s public universities and community colleges to develop and facilitate the program, which would focus on preparation for college and career planning, tutoring in reading, writing and mathematics, and opioid and drug education. It additionally would provide a stipend to enrolled college students to mentor at-risk youth, as well as offer scholarship opportunities for the at-risk youth who complete the program per the requirements specified in the bill.
Eleven female students from Waverly City Schools in Pike County attended today’s press conference to share their personal stories of growing up in families that had been impacted by drug and alcohol abuse. They emphasized the importance of the OhioCorps program and how it can help people like them, as well as future generations of young people, go to college and pursue career opportunities.
Rosenberger specified that they were the inspiration behind the bill.
“I want to commend the young ladies who came to the Statehouse today for having the courage to come forward and tell their story,” Rosenberger said. “As so many families throughout Ohio have unfortunately witnessed first-hand, the consequences of the prescription drug and heroin epidemic in our state have too often been tragic and fatal.
“I am proud of everything the legislature has already done to help our state counter this problem. By partnering with local communities and colleges, I believe the creation of OhioCorps will be another useful tool in helping at-risk students avoid the perils of this horrible epidemic and better achieve their personal and professional goals through life.”
Leaders from various Ohio colleges were also in attendance to show support for the bill, including Bruce Johnson, President of the Inter-University Council of Ohio, Dr. Rick Kurtz, President of Shawnee State University, Dr. Duane Nellis, President of Ohio University and Daniel Palmer, Chief Justice of the Student Government Association at Wright State University.