I recently had the opportunity to tour Butler Tech, a career technical school within the 53rd Ohio House District that launched a new Workforce Services department. Workforce development has been an important focal point of the state over the past few years, as we’ve created programs and encouraged policies that facilitate a better connection between the labor force and education. As we’ve seen, many times, students will pursue a traditional four-year program at a college and university only to struggle to find employment afterwards. Departments like Workforce Services at Butler Tech help many looking for employment gain skills and qualifications through alternative avenues.


Butler Tech is one of Ohio’s largest career tech centers with five campuses and ten partner school districts serving more than 14,000 students in middle and high school and over 2,000 adult students. Not only is Butler Tech one of the largest career centers, it is also one of the most successful. The institute boasts extremely high placement rates—approximately 93 percent of students in high school programs are employed, enrolled in higher education, enter the military, or take on an apprenticeship post-program. Further, 88 percent of those in the center’s adult education programs are placed in a job after completing the program.


It is because of centers like Butler Tech that the gap between education and employment is closing. It’s become apparent that there exists a disconnect between the skills needed for the jobs currently available in the workforce and the expectation that to be successful one must complete a traditional four-year degree program. Butler Tech’s new Workforce Services department strives to close that gap even more so, especially in the southern Ohio region. The department promotes community engagement, working with local businesses to expand internship and job shadowing opportunities. Moreover, the department has established memberships with several local chambers of commerce, creating channels of communication between education, the business community, and local and state government entities.


As a conservative, I’m a firm believer in providing people with pathways to success—encouraging self-sufficiency—rather than handouts. This principle is a critical component of workforce development, using methods to improve the movement from school to the attainment of job-oriented skills to a fulfilling career. By fostering these connections, we can set up more Ohioans for success, in which they can contribute to our state’s economy and our communities’ livelihood. It is a point of pride that the area I call home can claim Butler Tech as its own, an excellent institution striving for these same goals.


 

 
 
 
  
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