A year ago, Gov. John Kasich’s Executive Workforce Board came up with a package of ideas meant to help the state’s school districts do a better job of graduating students who were ready to go to work.
Two of those ideas — adding non-voting school board members to help craft a curriculum to meet local business needs and getting teachers to spend time in a business to understand workplace needs — were rejected by lawmakers.
But Kasich on Tuesday urged the board to continue its efforts to bring about the changes needed to ensure students can thrive in a rapidly-changing workplace where technology threatens to wipe out many jobs.
“We’re not great, but okay,” he told the panel Wednesday at the offices of construction company Kokosing in Westerville. “We know the kind of things we need to get done.”
Kasich reiterated several points he made Friday during a conversation at Ohio State University he had with Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Alphabet. At the time, Kasich warned of a tsunami that threatens many existing jobs because of rapid technological change. He again made his case for an overhaul of the state’s educational system from kindergarten through college.
“This is the biggest issue that faces the country,” he said, affecting those still in school as well as adults who have lost their job.
“If they lose hope and don’t have work, what are they going to do?”
Kasich told workforce board members to work with their local school boards and colleges to push for the needed changes to produce graduates ready for the jobs of the future. He also said businesses need to get more active in their local districts if they want graduates they need, whether it is helping to design classes or mentoring students.
Although the effort to add business representatives to school boards failed, the state wants to make better use of business advisory councils that school districts are required to have by state law.
In some districts, there is excellent cooperation between districts and businesses, said Ryan Burgess, who heads up Kasich’s Office of Workforce Transformation. In other districts, that’s not the case.
Going forward, districts will be required to file plans with the state detailing how districts and businesses will work together to prepare students for the jobs of the future, he said.
“This is a challenge to the business community,” he said. “They are saying they’re not getting the talent they need.”