Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted made a stop in Cincinnati on Monday morning to kick off "In-Demand Jobs Week," stopping at the University of Cincinnati and Hughes STEM High School.
Census data from 2020 showed a drop in population in Ohio and as a result, the state became one of seven states losing a House of Representative seat. Husted said he hopes the answer to growth could be found in Cincinnati.
"What's happening here is really the future," he said.
Husted toured UC's 1819 Innovation Hub on Monday morning, where students can work alongside corporations and get credit for college and potentially a job after graduation.
"This is why I'm here today, to focus on in-demand jobs," said Husted. "We have a very low unemployment rate in Ohio. We have businesses who need talent."
Students and companies are able to reap benefits of creating connections at the 1819 Hub and David Adams, chief innovation officer at UC, said that has the opportunity to bring more businesses closer to the campus.
"For a lot of these companies, getting the opportunity to interact with these students on a daily basis is difficult and so proximity matters," said Adams. "Being close to the campus where those students can leave the class and come in here and make it happen."
Local students in the area are able to gain a boost as well: Grant Chapel graduated from Hughes STEM High School and is now a sophomore at UC. At Hughes, he received college credit and his admission into UC was automatic, because of the tech program at the high school.
"It's the perfect way to bridge the gap between high school and college," said Chapel. "It's the best way to get you to understand the possibilities of what the future would be. A lot of people say it's the best way to see the light at the end of the tunnel about what I'm going to do after school."
Husted attended a round-table discussion at Hughes about the program after his tour at UC.
"You can create that partnership between education and business and it leads to great jobs here for all of these students and it helps us retain this talent," he said.
Adams and Husted both said they hope programs like these will make it easy to see Cincinnati as the next superstar city in the Midwest.
"If you think about the so-called superstar cities, the Silicon Valleys, the Bostons, they have an unfair advantage in that they've been at this for decades," said Adams. "We're working aggressively to build in years what they've done in decades."
Cleveland and Columbus announced the creation of innovation districts earlier this year; Both are modeled after the one in Cincinnati.