Maintaining a workforce with the necessary skills for today’s jobs is a key stumbling block within Ohio’s economy, according to a Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.
But he seemed impressed with what he saw Monday during a tour of the Brown Mackie College on Munson Street NW.
“As chief financial officer of the state, one of the things I think about when I wake up in the morning is how we can create an environment for a vibrant and growing economy,” Mandel, a Republican from the Cleveland area, said. “One of the main challenges we face as a state, as the baby boomers retire, we are seeing a shortage of skilled workers in many important fields.”
Three important fields identified by Mandel are oil and gas industry, machining and health care.
Brown Mackie College is a private, for-profit college which considers itself a “career college,” said Peter Perkowski, president of this campus.
Perkowski said Brown Mackie students tend to finish their curriculum in a shorter period of time than at traditional universities.
Mandel seemed particularly impressed when he was told the majority of the Brown Mackie students on this campus are mothers, many of whom hold jobs.
“I think our economy in Ohio needs more institutions like Brown Mackie, which are training Ohioans to work in health care and other important fields.” Mandel said.
The state treasurer said he is noticing that some students are graduating with liberal arts degrees from traditional universities and winding up at low-paying jobs, saddled with student loan debt.
Mandel first was elected as state treasurer in 2010, defeating the incumbent Democrat Kevin Boyce. Before his election as state treasurer, Mandel was in the Ohio House of Representatives, representing the 17th District.
Seeking a second term as Ohio treasurer, Mandel faces a challenge this Nov. 4 from State Rep. Connie Pillich of the 28th District. Pillich, also an attorney, represents the Cincinnati area in the Ohio House.
While touring Brown Mackie College, Mandel chatted with staff and students and asked questions. His visit here was arranged by local real estate executive Scott Fitzpatrick of Fitzpatrick Enterprises.
“He (Mandel) is an advocate for education,” said Fitzpatrick, who accompanied the state treasurer on the tour.
Mandel said, while he was a member of the Ohio House of Representative, he fought to allow the Ohio College Opportunity Grant program to provide funds for students attending for-profit private colleges.
“Whether it is for-profit or nonprofit is irrelevant,” Mandel said.
Reach Malcolm a 330-580-8305 or on Twitter: mhallREP