Among his many roles in the administration of Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Thursday that one will be to champion vocational education.
The lieutenant governor told those gathered for the Ohio Association for Career Technical Education Annual Legislative Seminar in Columbus that too few Ohioans are aware of the doors that can be opened through vocational training in secondary school.
“There’s a lot of confusion about education pathways in general because adults carry with them their history, the history of what they experienced, the history of what they experienced in high school or college,” he said.
However, he said that history does not reflect what is going on right now in the world of education, noting that a student in Ohio can graduate with a certificate in the field of robotics and make $60,000 per year with no student loan debt.
One of Mr. Husted’s roles in the administration will be overseeing workforce development.
“To me, where we will focus is on delivering talent to somebody who needs it in a very short period of time,” he said of that charge, in which he believes vocational training will play a key role.
He also encouraged those in attendance to think of their students as their customers and touted the ability of education to improve one’s opportunities.
As the leader of InnovateOhio, Mr. Husted also encouraged those in education to recognize the ways in which technology is changing the world. He said in his former role as secretary of state it allowed him to streamline operations in his office, resulting in a 40% staff reduction, 21% lower fees and improved customer service.
Technology, though, can also create a disruption in the workforce, and Mr. Husted spoke of the need to “upskill” those that could lose jobs because of technological advances.
“We can change things for the better and I really believe the states that get this right are going to be the ones that succeed,” he said of technology.
Lt. Gov. Husted also told the group that economic development will be one of his focuses in the administration. While he said lower taxes and less regulation help in that area, a readily available talent pool is more important.
As an example, he pointed to the recent announcement by Amazon that it would build new headquarter facilities in New York and near Washington, D.C., neither of which are known for their low tax rates. But, he added, both have large talent pools of individuals well-versed in technology.
“When we get it right, everybody wins,” he said.
This article originally appeared on Gongwer.