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Ohio National Guard expands scholarship opportunities

Ohio National Guard expands scholarship opportunities

OHIO — To keep residents in Ohio to help fill a growing workforce, the Ohio National Guard has revamped its scholarship program to include more opportunities.

Careers outside of the traditional classroom, like welding, are making a big comeback in the Buckeye State.

What You Need To Know

  • Ohio National Guard expanded scholarship opportunities
  • More young people are interested in receiving trade licenses and certificates
  • More than 100 programs are being offered at nearly 400 schools across Ohio

“Welding can be anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 degrees,” said Ohio National Guard Specialist Brenden Dunn.

Dunn has been serving for four years.

“I thought I was going to go and be that four year degree student, have it all paid for, and then I got about two years into my contract and I was like, ‘I haven’t done any school, so let’s go to school,’” he said.

Dunn took advantage of the Ohio National Guard’s expanded scholarship program that includes trade certificates, licenses and courses leading to a two- or four-year college degree.

He just finished up a nine month welding course in June.

“We were in here every night welding and burning rod and with it being paid for by the Guard, it made it a lot less stressful,” Dunn said.

Major General John Harris is the Ohio Adjutant General and said the expansion mirrors the changing demographics across Ohio.

“We’re finding more and more young people who want to go right into the workforce right after high school and not into four year programs and this is a great way to help them do that. Get a leg up on life, get started, and earn a good income for themselves and their families,” he said.

Harris said the scholarships are a way to incentivize people to not only serve their state, but their country.

“This is a fantastic way to get people interested. We find that once young people are here, they stay for different reasons but the benefits are one of the things that initially attracts them to the National Guard,” he said.

“I chose it because my family has a background in racing and I see my uncle welding a lot of roll cages and race car parts and stuff like that and I thought it would always be really useful in that next step to transition from not only working on the cars but building the cars as well,” said Dunn.

Right now, there are more than 100 programs being offered at nearly 400 schools across Ohio and more are being added to the list.

For Dunn, his job in the Guard and in the civilian world involve vehicle mechanics and maintenance, and welding fits right in.

“It just makes your imagination run wild and you’re allowed to let it run wild and lets you think of different ways you can do things. Bridges, skyscrapers, your bench that you sit on at the bus station. It’s everywhere,” he said.

Along with the expanded scholarships, the Ohio National Guard also launched its “Bucks for Buckeyes” initiative.

Any current or retired Ohio Guard member can receive $2,000 for each recruit referral, who enlists and reports for training.

Click here for more information.

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