Ohio’s Strategy to Shift Prevailing Perceptions About Pathways
In an effort to increase the number of postsecondary degree and credential holders in high-demand fields, a consortium of 15 school districts in Central Ohio, backed by a $14.4 million grant from the state, teamed up with Columbus State Community College to develop a variety of pathways in advanced manufacturing and robotics, healthcare, networking and digital technology, health information management technology, and business and logistics. The participating districts, which span five counties, include the largest urban district in the state, large suburban districts, and small rural districts—all of which vary greatly in their student demographics. Overall, this Pathways to Prosperity initiative, branded as Innovation Generation, engages 22,249 students in 18 high schools and 29 middle schools over five years and beyond.
In order to shift the prevailing perception among students, families, educators and community stakeholders, part of Central Ohio’s aim was to provide and train others to deliver accurate and consistent messaging about the educational and employment challenges the region faces, how the Pathways to Prosperity strategies will address those challenges, and the new opportunities afforded by this regional effort. To that end, the consortium contracted with a local communications firm to develop outreach materials with support and input from educators, businesses, and families by way of development workshops, focus groups, and surveys. With the help of the firm, the consortium has driven a campaign to raise awareness and generate excitement about college and career pathways in Ohio through marketing strategies, advertising, communications, public relations, and community outreach, using, among other vehicles, a student-friendly, dynamic website containing informational videos and other graphics that tell the story. For more information, visit http://innovationgenerationohio.com.