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Workforce Board Recommends More Collaboration between Schools, Business

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Gov. John Kasich Tuesday gave his endorsement of a number of recommendations from his Executive Workforce Board, saying he will work to implement many of those recommendations through rulemaking or through the biennial budget next year.

Many of the recommendations seek to connect business and local schools, including establishing teacher externships, having school boards appoint three new members from the business community, and expanding mentorship programs. 

Kasich said that it would be up to school boards to determine how much of a role those business members would have on the boards. He suggested that if business people attend local school board meetings, they can ask how the academic rigor of the district can help graduates get a job, or to bring financial responsibility to school budgets. 

The governor said he is ready to act on the recommendations immediately, saying he “doesn’t want it to be sitting on a shelf hanging around. If you go and do the work and nothing ever comes of it, it is a waste of time,” he told the board. Kasich called the plan the “most significant workforce outline in the country. 

He said his administration will implement the recommendations by going to the Ohio Department of Education and figuring out what can be done on a regulatory basis; going through the Ohio Department of Higher Education to implement those programs; and put the items that need to be done legislatively in the budget. 

The governor also lamented during his remarks the difficulty of getting his message out on higher education, discussing with the members of the board when something should be done by a “top-down” approach, citing the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee as an example, and when it should be done from the bottom up, drawing parallels with the state’s opioid crisis. 

Overall, he said education reform is “not scalable,” but he believes the reformers who are having success should be held up to show it off to the rest.

He also said he has received pushback from some schools on the College Credit Plus program that gives students in high school college credit for taking college classes. He told the board that “we’re not watering down” the program. “We just won’t do it.” 

Other recommendations include the following:

- Give teachers externships, something the governor was told could be done through continuing education or certificate renewal requirements. 

- Promote collaboration of local chambers of commerce, regional economic development groups and JobsOhio with community colleges, Ohio technical centers and K-12 schools. 

- Foster mentoring relationships between schools and businesses.

- Rebrand Ohio’s public libraries as “continuous learning centers” that serve as hubs for information about local in-demand jobs and relevant education and training resources. 

- Require the Ohio Department of Education to develop an "OhioMeansjobsReady Certificate" for high school students who demonstrate their work readiness by successfully exhibiting to-be-determined work ethic competencies (such as teamwork, problem-solving, reliability, punctuality, etc.) validated by no fewer than three teachers and/or business mentors and attaining at least four objective competencies -- including community service and technology before graduation.

- Require the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Higher Education to promote Western Governors University curriculum and capabilities, as well as other competency-based training resources in areas that align with Ohio's in-demand occupations for working adults with some college or no degree and to employers seeking educational opportunities for their employees.

Article written by Hannah News Service:

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