Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and State Representatives Scott Ryan (R-Granville Township) and Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) are pictured with Waverly students at Thursday's press conference. (Submitted photo)
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and State Representatives Scott Ryan (R-Granville Township) and Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) are pictured with Waverly students at Thursday's press conference. (Submitted photo)
During a press conference Thursday 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.


 
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 Thursday’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. Speaker 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.”
 
The legislation is sponsored by Reps. Ryan and Reineke, who joined the Speaker to discuss its importance.
 
“It has been an honor for me to be a part of this process, and I look forward to ushering this very important legislation through the General Assembly,” Ryan said. “Hopefully this initiative will not only help the students who came up to the Statehouse today, but also to be the catalyst to help thousands of other young people in our state for years to come.”
 
In an effort to support Ohio’s workforce efforts, the bill helps to prepare students through this mentorship program.
 
“Our goal as legislators is to help everyone, no matter their situation or background, find purpose and opportunity in whatever they choose to pursue,” Reineke said. “The OhioCorps program allows us to combine resources at all levels of education to help at-risk youth develop the skills and work ethic they need to become prosperous, successful adults and help fulfill our state’s workforce needs.”
 
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.
 
Full footage of Thursday’s press conference can be found here: http://ohiochannel.org/video/press-conference-2-8-2018-initiative-to-help-at-risk-students.