Northern Kentucky Chamber: Schools failing to prepare students for jobs of the future

Comments from the lead article in this Sunday’s Business Section of the Kentucky Enquirer are stunning.

“Even as the region’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, well-paying jobs across Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati have gone unfilled.

‘Employers are telling us that they can’t get the employees they need because the local work force doesn’t have the proper skills,’ says Steve Stevens, president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. ‘That’s a story we’ve been hearing for a while. We have to begin to move the needle on this.’”

“The talent gap, Stevens says, is the direct result of the failure of public schools across the region to prepare students for the jobs of the future.”

Changes the NKY Chamber would like:

• More business practices in the school system to enhance accountability and raise the performance bar

• Merit pay for teachers

• More superintendent control of principal hiring (which requires changes to the SBDM rules)

• Districts working more effectively together

• A better plan for innovative processes (the lack of which caused us the loss of Race to the Top money)

• More business-education collaboration

• Moving beyond acceptance of the status quo

The full, thought-provoking article should be mandatory reading for everyone in Kentucky. It certainly provides dramatic support for many of the comments made in the Bluegrass Institute’s recently released set of reports about what we have learned about KERA in the past 20 years (access here).

I don’t know if the N KY Chamber folks had a chance to read our reports before the Enquirer ran their article, but I know they’ve heard a lot of the information in the reports before, from me. I’m a NKY Chamber member and serve on its education committee.