News

Central Ohio School Districts Launch Innovation Generation

April 25, 2014

Grant of $14.4 Million Drives Multidistrict Collaboration for Student Success

Today’s students need new ways to prepare for central Ohio’s fastest-growing jobs, but often don’t understand their options. Employers can’t find enough highly skilled workers, yet aren’t sure how to partner with the schools to produce them.

On Tuesday, both businesses and students got a big boost when 15 school districts, backed by the State of Ohio, Columbus State Community College, Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, the central Ohio business community and other partners, announced the Innovation Generation initiative.

More than 100 people packed a fourth-floor room at Columbus State’s Center for Workforce Development, where they heard about Innovation Generation’s plans to expand postsecondary options and close workforce talent gaps.

More than 100 people packed a fourth-floor room at Columbus State’s Center for Workforce Development, where they heard about Innovation Generation’s plans to expand postsecondary options and close workforce talent gaps.

The public launch follows a $14.4 million Ohio Straight A Fund grant in December that has resulted in six new education programs in four key industries:  advanced manufacturing/robotics, business logistics, health care and information technology

By providing employers with ways to get involved, and by providing students with work experiences and college courses, Innovation Generation will help young Ohioans earn credentials they can use to work in their chosen careers or get a head start on additional education.

The Reynoldsburg City Schools, which was the lead applicant for the grant, already has a long track record of placing students in central Ohio work-based programs. The crowd heard from three Reynoldsburg juniors, who described how work-based experiences aligned with strong high school academics have helped shape their ideas about their future paths.

Representatives from two Reynoldsburg business partners – Caren Chung of TS Tech Americas, Inc. and Jason Esken of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority – explained how well-designed internship programs can benefit students and employers alike.

Other speakers included Dr. David Harrison, president of Columbus State Community College; Cheryl Hay, deputy chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents; Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer for Columbus 2020; Steven Dackin, superintendent of the Reynoldsburg City Schools; and Marcy Raymond, Reynoldsburg’s Director of Secondary Instruction and STEM Initiatives.

Dackin told the group that “this is a true collaboration of 15 school districts from as nearby as the Columbus City Schools and as far away as the Marysville Exempted Village School District,” noting their approach is based on the philosophy developed by the Pathways to Prosperity Network, a collaboration between Harvard Graduate School of Education, Jobs for the Future and nine states.

“It’s focuses on ensuring that many more young people complete high school, attain a postsecondary credential with value in the labor market, and launch into a career while leaving open the prospect of further education,” Dackin said.

For more information, visit InnvovationGenerationOhio.com.