NEWARK, Ohio (WCMH) – Some Ohio leaders say career training is one of the keys for the state’s economic recovery.

“There are so many different ways that students can go to right out of high school, get career credentials, earn college credits and go to work at great careers,” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-OH) during a visit to Career and Technical Education Centers of Licking County (C-TEC) Wednesday morning.

His stop at the career center was part of a statewide tour during ‘In-Demand Jobs Week,’ highlighting the need for skilled workers across the state. He also celebrated prospective C-TEC students committing to the school during a ceremonial ‘signing day.’

“You meet with employers on an almost daily basis where they say, ‘I can’t find enough people to go to work who have these kinds of skills.’ And you come here and see the school developing the students with the skills,” Husted said.

According to the Lieutenant Governor, there are more than 92,000 skilled jobs currently available in Ohio offering more than $50,000 a year. Filling the vacancies has become a priority as the state reels from an economic downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is all part of making sure Ohio’s economy recovers, that it’s an inclusive recovery where everyone can participate and that we are roaring back,” he said.

Gabe Humes, a sophomore at Northridge High School in northwestern Licking County, attended ‘Signing Day’ at C-TEC Wednesday to commit to the automotive technology program.

“I always thought cars were kind of cool and I had a lot of people in my family that worked on cars so they’ve kind of inspired me to get into the field,” Humes said.

The career center was a good fit for Humes, who said he was anxious to enter the workforce.

“I wasn’t very interested in going to college and this gave me a different opportunity to pursue higher education,” he said.

Husted explained many career and technical programs offer credit for high school students free of charge. The state also offers TechCred, a grant program that allows employers to help workers build job skills.

Additionally, Governor Mike DeWine and the Lieutenant Governor are hoping to allocate $25 million of the upcoming state budget to incentivize tech and vocational skills. Under their proposal, the state would pay for certification tests and bonuses would be awarded to schools for graduating more students with in-demand credentials.

“My major point is that there are so many pathways for you,” Husted said. “There’s something out there for everyone.”