COLUMBUS — Dr. Doreen Larson, president of Edison State Community College, shared her excitement and gratitude for the recognition of support needed by community colleges to strengthened workforce development programs in the state to better prepare Ohioans for careers in the fast-changing workplace. She acknowledged the collaboration of Governor Mike DeWine with the members of the General Assembly in passing the new state budget that provides a response to critical workforce challenges.
“Governor DeWine not only listened to the voices of community colleges, but he took action to focus the budget on programs proven to be effective in increasing skilled workers and promoting collaboration between community colleges and regional employers,” said Larson. “We are lucky also to have leaders in the General Asssembly from our region who visit our campuses and talk to our students. They know that we have students who are eager to gain new skills and the new state funds will fast track these students into good-paying jobs.”
“Ohio is stronger today thanks to this budget,” said Jack Hershey, president and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges. “By increasing investments in community colleges, while also providing more opportunities for Ohioans who may not want to seek a college degree to earn an industry-recognized credential or short-term certificate, this budget puts us a better position to put more Ohioans on the path to rewarding new careers.”
Among important measures adopted in the new state budget is a 3 percent increase in Ohio’s performance-based funding formula for higher education, an incentive for colleges and universities that rewards student success and program completion. Since that formula was put in place in 2014, Ohio community colleges have achieved an 8.5 percent increase in the number of degrees and one-year certificates awarded, along with a 22 percent increase in short-term certificate awards. The new two-year budget appropriates $30 million to provide microcredentials or short-term training to current and prospective workers.
According to President Larson, Edison State looks forward to carrying out the vision of the DeWine-Husted Administration and the General Assembly, leaders who clearly understand the important role our colleges play in Ohio’s workforce development efforts.
To complement the DeWine Administration’s increasing focus on workforce training, Ohio community colleges recently created the Ohio Workforce League, a statewide team focused on strengthening career-readiness training efforts and staying ahead of emerging job trends. The Ohio Workforce League will also help ensure that community colleges are doing all they can to help the state meet its ambitious attainment goals that call for 65 percent of residents ages 25-64 to have a degree, license or certificate by 2025.
The OACC, representing the presidents and trustees of Ohio’s 23 public two-year institutions, works to advance community colleges through policy advocacy and professional development. For more information, please visit www.OhioCommunityColleges.org.