When Governor Kasich appointed me Chancellor in March of 2011, I came in knowing that nationwide – and even more so in Ohio – we face the issue of an undereducated workforce, and the future of our state and the prospects for its economic growth hinge on having more citizens with a certificate of economic import, an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree.
An educated workforce is vital to economic growth in Ohio. For businesses to thrive, workers must be well-educated and well-trained.
Sadly, both our country and our state have fallen behind in terms of the number of individuals with college degrees. The number of adults in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree remains in the bottom quarter of the nation. While 31 percent of adults in the United States have a bachelor’s degree, that number drops to 26 percent in Ohio.
by Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee
Saving money for college is a smart investment. An investment that will pay off for many years as statistics indicate that an individual with a bachelor’s degree will earn almost $20,000 more per year than a high school graduate while an associate degree holder will earn nearly $5,000 more per year than someone with only a high school diploma.
Since the beginning of 2012, I have focused the Ohio Board of Regents on one main concept: Completion.
In the near future, we will publish a strategic plan that emphasizes the importance of higher education to the economic future of Ohio.
During the past several months, I have had many conversations with legislators, administrators, and educators throughout Ohio. Several themes have evolved to help Ohio reduce our brain drain. I have spoken publicly about these recurring themes, and, as I am continuing to refine them, I want to apprise you of my thoughts with the hope that we can work together to improve completion rates.
Saving money, encouraging completion and providing opportunities are three reasons Ohio needs 3-year baccalaureate degrees.
Accordingly, there is a provision included in the Ohio fiscal year 2012-2013 budget bill requiring public universities to produce plans for 3-year baccalaureate degrees. The goal is to transition 10% of programs to 3-year degrees in 2012, with 60% of programs available in three years by 2014.
The summer graduation season is a particularly special time at our agency, given the focus of our work. I’ve been honored to deliver remarks at several commencement ceremonies this year, and two recent ceremonies stood out to me. At Central Ohio Technical College in Newark, 337 people earned degrees and certificates. And Rhodes State College in Lima boasted a record 613 graduates.