Gov. John Kasich told members of the Executive Workforce Board Tuesday that he intends to incorporate some of their recommendations into his biennial budget proposal.
Speaking at the group's quarterly meeting at the State Library of Ohio, Mr. Kasich told the group its work - the final product of which contains a number of recommendations to get Ohioans ready to compete economically in the 21st Century - serves as something that few other states have accomplished.
"This represents the most significant and comprehensive workforce outline that anybody probably has in the country," he said.
Among the recommendations (Report; Summary) is a call to promote more collaboration at the local, regional and state level. That includes local chambers of commerce, regional economic development groups, JobsOhio, technical centers and K-12 schools.
Gov. Kasich said a similar program is already ongoing in Marietta and it has proven to be successful in aligning the needs of business with the skills learners need to develop.
"It is really a remarkable, remarkable model that I think we need to duplicate around the state," he said.
The governor also touted several other recommendations, including the encouragement of teacher externships, increased business representation on local school boards and the fostering of mentoring relationships.
Some of the proposals, Mr. Kasich acknowledged, will need legislative approval. Others, however, can be implemented through the executive branch he said.
"We're not putting this off. I don't know how much we'll get through, but I think we have the tools to get most of it through," he said. "We don't want inventory sitting on the shelves."
Acknowledging he will face pushback from some concerns, for instance from school districts on the proposal to appoint three non-voting members of the business community to local school boards, the governor said he has some leverage in that area, including through the capital bill.
Other recommendations include:
- A requirement that schools offer project-based learning.
- The establishment of regional workforce career explorations and counseling collaborations.
- A requirement that school leaders engage with the local business community.
- The expansion of business engagement opportunities.
- The creation of an annual "In-Demand Jobs Week."
- The creation of an e-information and resource sharing tool.
- The leverage of effective practices.
- The formalization of career exploration partnerships.
- A focus on early employability and career readiness.
- An expansion of co-requisite remediation.
- An investment in early redirection.
- The creation of a state-level data analytics infrastructure.
- An enhancement of the state's career transition and training delivery system.
- The fostering of a statewide learning culture.
- The development of mechanisms for identifying, compiling and sharing best practices.
"As I went through each and every one of these ideas, I think they are fantastic," Gov. Kasich said.
Nonetheless, he repeatedly expressed frustration with the pace at which the recommendations could be implemented and his ability to spread the message far and wide, comparing it to his anti-drug "Start Talking!" initiative.
"It's very, very difficult to reach 12 million people with a message, but we have to figure out better ways to do it," he said.
Gov. Kasich also said that some of the changes will have to come from the bottom up.
"I'm a believer that when people see stuff that's good, they'll do it," he said.
Rep. John Barnes (D-Cleveland), who serves as a member of the panel, urged the governor to keep his foot on the gas moving forward.
"Continue to create urgency. We need it," he said.