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December 31, 2012 4:23 PM Ohio’s Jobs Idea

By Daniel Luzer

One common complaint about American universities is that they are simply failing to train students for available jobs. This is why graduates are unemployed; they don’t know how to do what businesses really need. Critics suggest that it might be a little more complicated; the economy is bad. There simply may not be that many good jobs available.

Splitting the difference, Ohio has decided to just give some companies money to create jobs, sort of. According to a piece in the Toledo Blade:

The Ohio Board of Regents plans to distribute $11 million in seed money to 10 Ohio colleges and 13 public or private universities to create as many as 3,500 internships and co-ops at 1,500 businesses across the state. Casino licensing fees will pay for the project.
Locally, the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, and Terra Community College will receive grants to participate. Businesses such as Cedar Fair, Whirlpool, Heinz U.S., and Owens Corning have agreed to contribute matching funds to hire interns and offer co-op opportunities.

This is apparently part of an effort to keep college students in the state of Ohio once they graduate. Will it work? Perhaps. Research has shown that scholarship plans, which aim to keep students in state by offering them free or reduced college tuition, mostly don’t work because college graduates pretty much go where the jobs are, no matter where they attend college.

The Ohio plan at least addresses the jobs part of the problem.

Still, if Ohio really wants to keep graduates in state, it might be wise to consider the quality of these jobs. Giving money to businesses to promote internships and co-ops is a step in the right direction, but if colleges really want to keep graduates around, they’re probably going to have to help students get real jobs, the kind with health care and benefit; an internship might not be good enough.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer