Monday, Aug 21, 2017
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EDITORIAL

A job-focused scholarship

Here’s an idea to get people into good jobs: Fund students who train for jobs that actually exist and pay well, like bookkeeping and medical-insurance coding.

Indiana lawmakers are working on a new scholarship program to do just that.

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The program will fund adult students pursuing certificates preparing them for what officials deem high-demand jobs.

In deciding which programs qualify, state officials will have to consider employer needs, job placement, completion, and wages.

Students in such programs will get scholarships. To qualify, they will have to (among other things) be “independent” under federal financial-aid rules.

Of course, government can’t predict the job market. But it can assemble data to show where the market is, or recently was. And since these training programs are relatively short programs — about one in three is the equivalent of less than one full-time academic year — the government doesn’t have to predict very far in advance.

Because the scholarship is designed to make borrowing for tuition unnecessary, students who can handle the cost of living without borrowing aren’t risking crippling student loans.

The chance to gain a marketable skill quickly, with no debt, should attract a lot of people. And to the extent that students pick the right programs, it should get most of them jobs — jobs they can’t get right now.

Indiana’s project should remind Toledoans, and Ohioans, that we’re not the only community facing challenges when it comes to work-force readiness. But there are some solid ideas for addressing the problem.

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