During a University of Findlay-hosted educational forum focusing on workforce challenges, the biggest applause of the day was for Ed Kurt, Findlay City Schools superintendent.
“We need to move away from generating test takers and instead teach creativity, collaborative thinking, and communication ability,” said Kurt. “Those are the skills that employers want.”
His comment was a key moment during the public breakfast forum, which included several education professionals addressing a variety of Hancock County-based workforce issues such as an impending K-12 teacher shortage, unfilled jobs, and high school dropout rates. Titled “Hancock County Educational Collaborative: We’re All In This Together,” the event was meant to be part of an ongoing conversation about how to generate viable solutions.
Participating were Randy Gardner, Ohio Department of higher Education chancellor; UF President Katherine Fell, Ph.D.; Kurt; Rosemary Rooker, executive director of Findlay Digital Academy; Larry Busdeker, Hancock County Education Service Center superintendent; Julie Baker, Owens Community College Findlay Campus executive director; Steve Robinson, Ph.D., Owens Community College president; and Laurie Zydonik, Raise the Bar executive director.
Attendees educated each other and the audience on existing programs such as Findlay Digital Academy’s adult high school diploma program, FHS’s Systems of Care grant assists with addressing students’ mental health issues, the Aspire GED program, and Millstream Career Center’s teacher preparatory program. Forum members were in agreement that continued educational collaboration among regional institutions will further address issues impacting the county’s workforce.