Ohio Mayors Convene to Tackle Educational Attainment Challenges

September 11, 2018

Dayton, OH (September 10, 2018) – On Monday, September 10, 2018, mayors, Chamber of Commerce and business leaders, higher education leaders, and superintendents from cities across Ohio convened in Columbus for the first Mayor’s Educational Attainment Summit.

The Summit, held at the Blackwell Inn and Conference Center at The Ohio State University, provided information to community leaders about Ohio’s current attainment challenges as they relate to college enrollment, college persistence, college graduation, Ohio’s next generation workforce, and the state’s economy.

The Summit also provided an opportunity for community leaders to come together to better understand each community’s status and to brainstorm ideas about how policy makers and practitioners can work together to address common attainment issues.

The goals of the Summit were to identify best practices from across Ohio that are being used to “recapture” lost and under-developed human capital, ensure that young people graduating from high school or entering the workforce are truly college and career ready, and identify and establish common goals and strategies across all Ohio cities. The goals are critical to ensuring that young people have the skills that they need for success in the global marketplace.

Mayors Nan Whaley of Dayton, Lydia Mihalik of Findlay, and Jamael “Tito” Brown of Youngstown co-hosted the Summit. Presenters included Eric Hanushek – Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and John Friedman – Associate Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs, Brown University.

Additional speakers, panelists, and facilitators included State Senator Vernon Sykes, Mayor Andrew Ginther – City of Columbus, Democratic Candidate for Lt. Governor Betty Sutton, Republican Candidate for Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Paolo DeMaria – State Superintendent of Public Infrastructure, Former Ohio Governors Bob Taft and Ted Strickland, among many others.

“A high-quality public education system is the foundation of a strong economy,” said Mayor Mihalik. “As mayors, we have a unique understanding of how important our schools are to attracting and retaining good jobs in our cities. That is why we are excited to have convened our first-ever Mayors Education Attainment Summit. We brought together a wide array of community stakeholders and began an important dialogue about working together and improving educational attainment in Ohio.”

“Mayors chart the course for the future of their communities,” said Mayor Whaley. “And, although most of us don’t have direct authority over our local schools, we must still be advocates for our education system and ensure that all of our young people have the credentials they need to succeed. I’m thrilled that so many of my fellow mayors attended the summit with key leaders from their communities to talk about how we can all work toward the common, statewide goal of an educated, well-prepared workforce.”

Mayor Brown reinforced the importance of collaboration, adding, “We have to work together if we are going to improve our economy and improve the quality of life for all Ohioans. We need to eliminate attainment barriers for all students and we also need to find new and better pathways to success for every student with an emphasis on racial parity and the importance of supporting the minority student. That is how we will build a stronger economy for all of Ohio.”

The Summit was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-sponsored by the Ohio Mayors Alliance, Ohio C2C Network, Inter-University Council of Ohio, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, Ohio Association of Community Colleges, and Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents.

“Building on a 14-year history working in Ohio, we’re glad to see these helpful statewide conversations on education,” said Rae Ann Knopf with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We seek to ensure all Ohio students – especially those with the fewest resources – have access to opportunities they need to succeed in life.”