Ohio's New K-12 Education Plan Aligns with Strengthening Stark's Action Plan
white paper, a wide variety of business, education and community leaders are working collaboratively to identify barriers and opportunities to better connect talent to our workforce needs. The great news is that Ohio's new education plan - Each Child, Our Future - and the Stark workforce leaders have identified the same learning domains for a successful student (see sidebar). They also agree that while there are very successful programs in our schools, we need to expand our partnerships so that students explore careers outside of school buildings, engage in community service projects and have a variety of work-based experiences.
Career exploration needs to begin at elementary and middle school. Exploring a "career path" does not mean that a student makes a career choice that cannot change. It means gauging a student's interests and passions, based on what a student enjoys and is good at, and identifying aligned fields that may be of interest. Giving each student an opportunity to focus on careers will require teachers, staff and partners to understand career exploration. It also means that, when possible, instruction should be infused with connections to careers so that students can see the relevance of what they learn.
Helping students connect to business is key. Students who participate in work-based learning gain valuable, relevant skills and often can discern whether particular professions are a good fit. They gain insight from business mentors who can help them achieve a deeper understanding of various career areas. Many of Stark's innovative high school principals and Career Tech Directors have established partnerships with local businesses and industry to enrich students' experiences. It is important that we expand work-based experiences that will be mutually beneficial for students and the workforce. The workforce will help to provide the real-life experiences students need to develop work habits and attitudes, and the employer can determine if the student is a potential fit. The goal is to develop strong relationships between our talented students and our successful businesses in order to keep our talent home and strengthen Stark County.
 Each Child, Our Future: Ohio Strategic Plan for Education: 2019-2024, p.7
 Ibid. p.12
 Ibid. p.4