U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Case Western Reserve University President Barbara R. Snyder were joined by several Northeast Ohio college presidents and regional education and business leaders yesterday to discuss issues surrounding "brain drain." Attendees also discussed ways to train college students and workers for 21st century jobs and strategies to create and retain good-paying jobs in Ohio.
The summit was held at the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence in Crawford Hall.
"By bringing together college presidents and business leaders, we can ensure Ohio has a workforce that is ready for 21st century jobs," said Brown. "A skilled workforce and economic development go hand-in-hand. We must work together to bring more jobs to Ohio and fill them with Ohio graduates."
One of the biggest concerns expressed by Ohio business leaders was finding employees with the right skills for high-tech industry jobs.
Snyder also stressed the importance of innovative research and education as the key to creating new companies that can fuel Ohio's 21st century economy.
"Education and research are the building blocks of the new economy," said Snyder, who co-hosted the summit. "Our ability to prepare students and make breakthrough discoveries are critical to Ohio's future."
Participants discussed how to address the disparity between high unemployment rates and a shortage of skilled workers for many emerging industries. Ohio's economic development has been stunted by workforce development issues as well. According to a November 2007 report issued by the office of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, four out of 10 employers statewide reported having a difficult time finding qualified applicants.
The forum was the final of six regional conferences Brown held throughout Ohio. These regional forums resulted from a first-of-its-kind meeting of Ohio college presidents convened by Brown last April. Held in Washington, D.C., the conference was attended by 46 of Ohio's college and university presidents, including Snyder.
Snyder's co-hosts included Luis Proenza, president of the University of Akron; Roy Church, president of Lorain County Community College; and Tom Chema, president of Hiram College.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.