Knowledge Exchange | Policy With a Splash of Coffee: Fueling Greater Cincinnati's Workforce

In this Knowledge Exchange x Policy with a Splash of Coffee, learn about the current state of Ohio’s higher education landscape.
June 11, 2024
An attendee asks a question at United Way's Policy With a Splash of Coffee forum on higher education and workforce readiness.
Policy With a Splash of Coffee forum attendee asks Chancellor Mike Duffey, Ohio Department of Higher Education, a question
(Victoria Ferguson / United Way of Greater Cincinnati )

CINCINNATI (May 30, 2024) — United Way of Greater Cincinnati invests in building a better foundation for tomorrow’s leaders by working to ensure children get a strong start in their education, teenagers have the tools necessary to learn and grow, and young adults are positioned to thrive in the current job market.

A recent study by the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis (NCHWA) projects that the U.S. will experience a shortage of almost 140,000 physicians overall, including more than 68,000 primary care physicians, during the next decade (through 2036).

We heard similar concerns during a recent United Way Knowledge Exchange: Policy with a Splash of Coffee discussion. Gina Hemenway, Executive Director of Community Health at Mercy Health, explained that the health care sector in general is already experiencing a worker shortage. That’s why it’s important to support higher education programming for individuals interested in health care—not just for health system employers but for the health and well-being of our community.

United Way President and CEO Moira Weir shaking hands with Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Mike Duffey
United Way President & CEO Moira Weir with Chancellor Mike Duffey, Ohio Department of Higher Education
(Victoria Ferguson / United Way of Greater Cincinnati)

Our special guest, Mike Duffey, Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), stressed the importance of education beyond high school for every Ohioan. While this includes college for students prepared for that step, Duffey also emphasized that education beyond high school in its many forms—including technical programs, military careers and short-term certificates—can still contribute to economic mobility for Ohioans to achieve this goal.

With more than $100 million in federal aid left unclaimed in Ohio, Duffey also emphasized the importance of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form unlocks the ability of Ohio students to qualify for up to $4,000 in Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) state aid in addition to $7,395 in federal Pell funds. When stacked together, this can pay all the tuition and fees at most Ohio universities, and many offer matching funds to these same students.

High-achieving students should also claim Ohio’s merit-based aid program, the Governor’s Merit Scholarship (GMS). The program provides $5,000 a year to high school seniors who graduate in the top 5% of their class if they decide to remain in-state at an Ohio college or university.

“We need to reframe how we think and teach younger generations about higher education,” an attendee shared. “We desperately need partnerships, resources, and opportunities promoting the benefit of post-secondary schooling for the success of our workforce now and in the future.”

To learn more about a recent collaborative effort to support higher education and financial empowerment, visit our NextGen Success webpage.

Representatives from United Way of Greater Cincinnati with Chancellor Mike Duffey, Ohio Department of Higher Education, and Gina Hemenway, Executive Director of Community Health at Mercy Health
Victoria Ferguson / United Way of Greater Cincinnati
United Way of Greater Cincinnati Policy With a Splash of Coffee attendees networking.
Victoria Ferguson / United Way of Greater Cincinnati
United Way of Greater Cincinnati Policy With a Splash of Coffee forum attendees networking.
Victoria Ferguson / United Way of Greater Cincinnati

United Way of Greater Cincinnati is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization [Tax ID: 31-0537502]. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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