Pat Tiberi's Columbus Dispatch Guest Column: Ohio CEOs see opportunity in changing workplace
Shortly after I was named president and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable, I asked our CEO members to list their most pressing concerns with Ohio’s economy. While economic development and taxes remain high priorities for Ohio’s business leaders, workforce development is now firmly entrenched as a top-of-mind concern.
Simply put, Ohio’s employers cannot find the workers with the necessary skill sets to fill the jobs of today, and our education system — K-12 and post-secondary — appears to be ill-prepared to equip students with the skills they’ll need for the jobs of tomorrow. In an economy that is evolving at a breathtaking pace, only by focusing our vision far forward can we keep Ohio ahead of the curve in preparing our young people for the new technological advances awaiting them and for the changing career opportunities they will bring.
Helping make this happen is a priority for Ohio’s business community, which is why we have come together to create Ohio Excels, a coalition of business leaders committed to ensuring that all Ohio students have access to excellent early-childhood, K-12 and post-secondary education experiences. Ohio Excels is aimed at ensuring that those education experiences are geared to preparing our young men and women for a career path aligned with the needs of our changing workplace — today and tomorrow.
We know that improving the quality of education will give students a better chance to succeed in a changing world and will ultimately help Ohio businesses grow and innovate, giving us a competitive advantage in the world marketplace. By creating Ohio Excels, the business community recognizes the important role it can and must play in addressing Ohio’s education and workforce challenges. We plan to use our collective voice and influence to identify and support policy solutions that will make Ohio’s education system stronger. We want to ensure that all students can be helped to achieve at high levels and have opportunities to develop skills and knowledge that will enable them to be successful in this new economy.
Ohio Excels already has been hard at work developing core principles that will guide our conversations with state leaders and education policymakers. These core principles include:
• Expect academic excellence — All students deserve the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
• A student-centered focus — Too often conversations are focused on how policies will affect adults in our schools. Instead we need to put students at the center of all policy and practice decisions.
• A data-driven approach — Education decisions must be informed by data that honestly illuminate student performance.
• Better implementation — Our leaders must support teachers in our classrooms as they work to implement new policies to ensure student success.
• Maximize investments — The state of Ohio should better coordinate all its investments in education to serve students’ comprehensive needs.
• Quality choices — Families and students deserve the right to choose the school that best meets their unique needs and have funding required for that choice.
• Build on success — Highlight examples of success in our classrooms and share these best practices with other educators so students across the state have access to proven strategies.
Economists forecast that 65 percent of today’s elementary school students will go on to have jobs that today don’t yet exist. I was the first in my family to graduate from high school, and I could not have had the success I’ve experienced in my life if not for the meaningful education I received from the teachers at Northland High School who thoroughly prepared me for the potential career paths that awaited me.
In that same vein, Ohio Excels stands ready to help our education institutions prepare today’s students for the jobs of tomorrow and tomorrow’s students for the jobs that don’t yet exist.
Pat Tiberi is president and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable and serves as a member of the board for Ohio Excels along with Alex Fischer, president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership and Theodore Adams, vice president and senior counsel for Company Affairs and Corporate Responsibility of L Brands.
President and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable
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