Stephen K. Dodgion: Career tech funding key to lessening the skills gap

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 29, 2021

Editor’s note: The following is a letter written to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio:

I’m writing this letter in order to convey to you the importance of your and Senator Kaine’s sponsorship of the current JOBS Act. After reading your letter in which you explained the logic and reasoning behind your support for the JOBS Act, I am fascinated by how on target you are in your description of our skills gap.

I am currently a superintendent of a career center in Southern Ohio. We have a large and very successful adult education program as well as serving 1,800 students in Lawrence County in some form of technical education. While some of the schools in the state have lost enrollment during the pandemic, our school is exploding. Students from Lawrence County, Southern Ohio and the Tri-State area are flocking to our school because of the cutting edge of our programs. I could never understand why the career tech centers of Ohio are either frozen or capped as how much they can grow due to the lack of funding.

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Our country has fully embraced college education as the key to a successful future, but it is evident, at this day and time, that the opportunities before us rests in technical education. While the professions will always be important, the skills gap in our country are in a critical stage. If we do not provide the funding and support for career tech education, we will fall behind the rest of the world in developing our young people to take these great opportunities.

I applaud your efforts and we in career tech education in Ohio are in full support in yours and Senator Kaine’s efforts. We wish you success in your endeavors, and will support you in this process.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding this matter.

Stephen K. Dodgion is the superintendent for Collins Career Technical Center in Lawrence County.