Ohio teachers may be required to job-shadow at a local business in order to renew their licenses under a provision in Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal.
The governor’s aim is to prepare young people for a changing, more tech-oriented workforce. In order to do this effectively, Kasich believes teachers would first have to become acquainted with these new jobs.
“Exposing teachers to the in-demand jobs in their community can only help them in their conversations with students around career counseling and the jobs that are available and the skills that are needed,” said Ryan Burgess, the director of the Office of Workforce Transformation, at a presentation of the governor’s budget proposal.
A constant complaint among Ohio businesses is that they are not getting the talent they need, Kasich said at the budget presentation. Young people are missing out on good-paying jobs that they might secure if they had the right skills, according to the governor. “Part of the problem we have is the companies that are here want to hire people, but they can’t find anybody [with the qualifications],” he said.
In an op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Kasich argued that Ohioans can pursue high-tech, high-paying jobs in data analytics, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing right in their own state. But schools must step up. “I am convinced that it’s all about education and workforce training,” he wrote. “These are the keys to unlocking the future, and they are essential elements in today’s economy to ensuring people don’t fall behind when technology forces profound changes for industries and their workforce needs in our state.”
Ohio teachers typically renew their licenses every five years. Continuing education credits are required for renewal, and the job shadow at a local business could potentially count toward that requirement, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.
But first the state board of education would have to decide on the requirements for a job shadow, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. For instance, would an hour-long factory tour meet the requirement, or should teachers put in a full day and get hands-on experience? The next step would be for local professional development committees to identify job-shadowing opportunities in the community for individuals or groups of teachers.
Some observers took to Twitter to express their disapproval of the job shadow requirement.
While Melissa Cropper, the president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, would prefer that the job shadow proposal came as a recommendation and not a requirement, she acknowleded the idea’s merits. “Education policy over the past decade has been highly focused on college readiness and has overlooked the potential on career readiness,” she told the Enquirer. “We definitely need to take a deeper look on how to get students ready for college and careers. The concept of certain teachers partnering with the business community has potential.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.