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Superintendent's Note

Developing Working Relationships among Business, Labor and Education

There’s no doubt that the economy and jobs have been a primary focus of Ohio policymakers over the past decade. As part of that focus, many have pointed to education as a key component for developing the state’s workforce to attract and retain jobs that pay well and offer Ohioans the opportunity to be a thriving piece of the economic puzzle.

In an effort to make the connection between business and K-12 education more concrete, Governor Kasich and the General Assembly included in last summer’s budget bill a provision establishing standards for school districts and educational service centers relating to their business advisory councils. These standards direct business advisory councils to work toward three primary goals:

  1. A delineation of employment skills and development of curriculum to instill these skills;
  2. An approach to changes in the economy, job market and types of employment in which future jobs are most likely to be available;
  3. And the development of working relationships among business, labor and education personnel.

Here in Central Ohio, we are well-positioned to meet and surpass these goals due to a foundation that has been laid for this work and co-led by the ESC of Central Ohio and Columbus State Community College. Over the past 10 years, the ESC and other Central Ohio partners have worked on several projects focused on this education-business connection such as Dual Enrollment, the Central Ohio College & Career Success Network, Pathways to Prosperity, Innovation Generation, the ESC’s Success Network and the Central Ohio Partnership for College and Career Readiness Expansion Investing In Innovation grant, all under the organizing call to action and goals of the Central Ohio Compact. The Compact has issued goals for the region’s educational institutions, K-12 and higher education that include an overarching goal of improving postsecondary success rates and attainment of essential credentials and skills for success for all of its residents.

Keeping this primary goal of the Compact in mind, the ESC is creating a Business Advisory Council to assist school districts, other educational institutions, and businesses in working together to achieve all of these goals while further enhancing the continuing conversations in our community regarding education, the workforce and the economy. The Council will work in concert with the Central Ohio Compact’s existing Workforce Advisory Board which currently consists of workforce, industry and business leaders across the leading employment sectors in Central Ohio.

Ultimately, we strive every day to lead when necessary, support all stakeholders, and share and leverage resources on behalf of our school districts and partners. Our Business Advisory Council and the related work will align to this purpose and provide another path for better coordination and communication between education and business in our community.

Tom Goodney