Higher education leader John Carey said helping more military veterans earn college credentials will be important to the state’s economy and his goal of educating more Ohioans.
Carey, who was appointed by Gov. John Kasich in April to serve as chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents (the state agency that coordinates higher education), visited the Dayton area on Monday with stops at Clark State Community College and Wright State University as part of his first statewide tour, as well as the Dayton Daily News. Carey was joined by Senior Vice Chancellor Gary Cates.
Carey said his top goal will be aligning higher education with workforce demands. Ohio needs 60 percent of its residents to hold a college credential, which could be a short-term certificate training program or a four-year degree, to meet the workforce needs of the future, he said. Only 35.5 percent of the state’s residents currently have a credential, according to the nonprofit Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based organization committed to increasing college enrollment.
His efforts will including taking an inventory of all training programs in Ohio and using information the state is collecting from businesses on what jobs they will have open in the future. He will also work to provide access to more students who are in high school or already in the workforce to show them possible pathways to a credential and build more internship and co-op opportunities to connect students with businesses.
Getting more military veterans into college is also “an immediate concern for us,” he said, and the board of regents will focus on removing barriers to veterans entering college and giving them college credit for their experience.
“For whatever reason, veterans are not taking advantage of higher education as much as we’d like,” Carey said.
The board also is requesting information on programs at Ohio’s 14 public universities and 23 community colleges that assist veterans to look for successful efforts that can be duplicated, Carey said. During his visit to Wright State, he learned about the university’s efforts, including classes exclusively for veterans. About 650 Wright State students are veterans or military-connected, according to the university.
“How can we make our system more inviting to veterans so you don’t feel like an outcast because you didn’t go to college right after high school. That shouldn’t be a barrier,” Cates said.