Kent State Day at the Statehouse
Forty Ohio employers traveled to Columbus on March 28 to join representatives from Kent State University and alumni in the workforce for the university's annual Kent State Day at the Statehouse. During this daylong advocacy event with the theme "Talent Meets Jobs: A Kent State Education Aligns with Employer Need," these major Ohio employers met with 21 legislators and other state officials to express their recognition of the important role that Kent State plays in workforce development.
Along with employers of Kent State graduates, successful Kent State alumni in the workforce joined the Kent State delegation, which included Kent State President Lester A. Lefton, members of the Board of Trustees, deans from Kent State's eight campuses and students, to tell their personal experiences with Kent State in preparing students for work. The employers and graduates represented a diverse group of industry sectors in Northeast Ohio and Central Ohio.
"We have an impressive group of industry leaders who are making an investment of time and effort to come to the Ohio Statehouse and support higher education by discussing their first-hand experience hiring Kent State graduates," Lefton said prior to the event. "Some of these corporate executives are also proud Kent State graduates who will share with legislators how Kent State prepared them for successful careers. In addition, these executives are joining us in Columbus to discuss job creation in Ohio and the importance of college-educated talent for the growth and prosperity of their companies."
In addition to meeting with legislators, a smaller group of delegates and university officials had roundtable discussions with senior state officials who are responsible for employment-related policies, including Mark Kvamme, president and interim chief investment officer of JobsOhio, and Rich Frederick, executive director of the new Office of Workforce Transformation.
The companies represented at the Kent State Day at the Statehouse event collectively provide more than 100,000 jobs for Ohioans. The impressive list of employers included Abercrombie & Fitch, Allied Machine & Engineering Corporation, Allstate Insurance, Cleveland Clinic, Fahlgren Mortine, FirstEnergy Corporation, First National Bank, Nationwide Insurance, the North Canton Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Wine Producers Association, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Robinson Memorial Hospital, Saint-Gobain, the Sherwin-Williams Company, Soft-Lite, Summa Health System, the Timken Company, Tinker Omega Manufacturing, University Hospitals Health System, Victoria's Secret, Vocon, Inc. and W.S. Tyler.
Iris Harvey, Kent State vice president for university relations, explained that Kent State Day at the Statehouse helps advance the mission of Kent State and discuss issues important to higher education.
"Legislators deal with issues every day that greatly impact higher education and workforce development," Harvey said. "Our elected senators and representatives are very interested in learning directly from employers and graduates about how well Kent State prepares students to meet employer needs."
"We're working to serve our students, the region and the global workforce by making a Kent State degree 'a passport to success' in every field, as employers continue to show high levels of satisfaction with our new graduates' ability to hit the ground running and continue to seek out and hire more employees educated at Kent State," Lefton said. "Kent State produces a large number of graduates – 200,000 to date and more than 6,000 each year -- who leave our campuses and enter the workforce educated and prepared. A Kent State education is an education that works."