Marietta College Awarded $1 million Choose Ohio First grant to support STEM scholarships

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Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner has announced that Marietta College will receive a $1,051,500 Choose Ohio First (COF) Grant to support students in the fields of science, (including the health professions) technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The award is divided between two grants, a five-year grant to recruit and support new cohorts of students, and a four-year grant to support previously enrolled COF scholars through the completion of their degrees.

“As part of the largest number of institutional grantees in COF history, (Marietta’s) proposal to provide STEM scholarships will help improve Ohio’s workforce capacity to innovate and grow our economy,” Gardner says.

Choose Ohio First is an initiative put forth by the Ohio Department of Higher Education to bolster support for the next generation of Ohio STEM scholars and industry leaders. Participating institutions, like Marietta College, award scholarships to students from Ohio based on need and merit. The initiative awarded grants to 60 institutions of higher education this year, up from 35 in 2020.

“Marietta College is committed to educating Pioneers who will blaze new trails in these critical fields,” says Marietta College President, Dr. William N. Ruud. “One of the biggest challenges for students in Ohio is affording the cost of college. The COF scholarship will give us the leverage we need to attract the most qualified students to our STEM programs, regardless of their ability to afford a private college.”

While this is the largest COF award the College has received to date, Marietta College has been the recipient of COF funds since 2011. The dollars have allowed the College to provide scholarships for more than 260 students in its Petroleum Engineering, Geology and Physician Assistant programs.

According to the Bureau for Labor Statics, employment in STEM occupations nationally is projected to grow at a rate of 8 percent between 2019-2026, which is more than twice the national average of non-STEM occupations in the same time period.

This trend matches employment projections for Ohio. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services 2026 Ohio Job Outlook Employment Projections Ohio is expected to add 253,000 new jobs between 2016-2026 with approximately 60 percent of those jobs being in STEM fields.

According to a recent report done by the Marietta College Career Services Center, the Mid-Ohio Valley region also shows continual job growth for individuals with STEM degrees. The top STEM occupations in the Mid-Ohio Valley for college graduates include physicians, surgeons, physician assistants, general and operations managers, physical therapists, industrial engineers, speech and language pathologists and accountants.

Healthcare and social assistance, alone, account for 15.4 percent of the jobs in Washington County, followed by manufacturing (14.6 percent), professional, scientific and technical jobs (3.5 percent), logistics (4.8 percent), public administration (5.3 percent), finance and insurance (3.3 percent), and mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction (2.3 percent).