Northeast Ohio Community College Leaders Discuss Back To Class Plans And Workforce Training

With the start of the new academic year approaching, how will Northeast Ohio's community colleges handle returning students to classes this fall?  [mangpor2004 / Shutterstock]
With the start of the new academic year approaching, how will Northeast Ohio's community colleges handle returning students to classes this fall? [mangpor2004 / Shutterstock]
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The new academic year begins for many students this month.  This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic creates additional uncertainties and concerns for students, their families and educational institutions.

We have discussed here some of the plans for schools heading into the new academic year.  As Governor DeWine discussed on Tuesday, K-through-12 schools in Ohio will use in-person, remote and hybrid learning models to start the year.  But the educational model schools use at the start of the year are likely to shift and adapt as the coronavirus pandemic evolves and flu season approaches.

Today on The Sound of Ideas, we are going to turn our attention to Northeast Ohio’s community colleges and how they plan to bring students back this fall and the precautions that will be in place to protect safety and health.

I am joined this morning by the leaders of Cuyahoga Community College, Lorain County Community College, and Stark State College.

The coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench into Ohio’s economic engine leaving many workers on the sidelines as mandatory shutdowns to contain the virus led to job losses.  Experts say many of those jobs may never return.

This may mean workers will have to increase or augment their skills set to get back into the workforce. The pandemic arrives as Ohio seeks to bridge its workforce skills gap---by increasing the number of workers in Ohio with post-secondary training whether that be a degree or certificate or other credentialing.

Community colleges are being looked to as a key component in the pandemic economic recovery and bridging the skills gap.

We talked earlier this week about the release of a new action plan to bridge that skills gap---now this morning we continue our discussion with our education panel on this topic.

We should re-iterate that Ideastream serves as the lead public media station for the statewide American Graduate Getting to Work initiative, from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - and was one of the 40-plus organizations who developed the Bridging Ohio's Workforce Plan  was released earlier this week.

Later, this week, the staff and board of the Akron Art Museum began a training program designed to address issues of systemic racism at the museum alleged by employees over the past year. This DEAI training --- that stands for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion --- is part of a series of steps the museum has put in place after local and national news stories criticized the policies and practices of former director Mark Masuoka. Ideastream’s David C. Barnett has been following this story from the beginning and gives background about what happened and what happens next.

Guests: 

Karen Miller, Ph.D. Provost and Executive Vice President of Access, Learning and Success, Cuyahoga Community College
Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., President, Lorain County Community College 
Para M. Jones, Ph.D., President, Stark State College

David C. Barnett, Producer, Arts & Culture, Ideastream   

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