Parker: City mayors working toward workforce goal

A trained, educated and inspired workforce in Ohio is our greatest asset.  Though we continue to tweak our education systems, it seems the necessary progress is not being made to return Ohio to the major economic juggernaut it once was.  For far too many years, we have tried to create these multiple silos concerning education and the oversight of our educational programs both in K-12 and in higher education.

Phil Parker, president & CEO, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

In previous decades and generations, our school districts were fairly separated from the towns and cities we all lived in. That scenario remains today. It seems the work of running cities and school districts was not co-mingled because each governmental body could make a case for the local missions being separate. This is not the case in our smallest of districts, as leadership has had to take over out of necessity. However, we are seeing a new model emerge as mayors of some of Ohio’s larger cities become more involved in their respective school districts. They are gathering for an important event that will bring education and local governments together to figure out how better to move our systems forward.

I believe this group of leaders of the Ohio Mayors Alliance, the largest 35 city mayors, will use their collective knowledge to help us all meet the school attainment goals. I also believe they may be in a unique position to drive us closer to our statewide educational attainment goals of 65% of the workforce having an advanced degree or marketable credential by 2025. The goals of the cities and the school districts are actually cohesive and not completely independent. Schools want successful students; mayors want their citizens to prosper; and businesses need the trained and educated workforce to meet its goals of growing successful employers.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik are gathering government, education and business leaders together on Monday, September 10, 2018 at The Blackwell Inn and Pfahl Conference Center at The Ohio State University to expand this discussion and work together on next steps.

We have to do something new, different and unique if we are to make our goal of 65% by 2025 and ensure Ohio is on the forefront of business and job growth going into this next decade.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Phil Parker, CAE, CCE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce