Given the importance of preparing students for success in the classroom and beyond COSE formally supported the passage of two local levies, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s (CMSD) capital levy and Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) operating levy. Both Cuyahoga County and Cleveland voters voted in favor of these levies. Issue 4, CMSD, passed receiving 62% of the votes and Issue 6 (Tri-C) passed receiving 57% of the votes.
It’s no secret that a workforce that lacks the specific skill sets that a small business requires has become increasingly more challenging for too many employers that are looking to hire. By supporting and partnering with both of these institutions we can work together to shrink the workforce skills gap that currently exists for small businesses in the region.
What does passage of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) levy mean for small business?
Cleveland schools play a critical role in the development of students’ skills and help build strong and vibrant communities. Since 2011, CMSD graduation rates have showed marked improvement, and Issue 4, a levy renewal, will allow the area to build on that momentum by enhancing the district’s facilities and ensuring students receive a quality education in a quality environment.
Approval of this ballot measure ensures the continuation of a 68% financial match from the State of Ohio, which will generate an additional $256.8 million in revenue for Cleveland’s schools. This election was the last opportunity for the community to consider a CMSD capital levy renewal, instead of a tax increase, and the initiative will provide resources for the construction of approximately 22 new, modern schools and the refurbishment of about 20 schools. Although new school construction or the refurbishment of our current public schools cannot be directly tied to performance or achievement, a safe and positive learning environment for our children and the community at-large clearly matters; and a developing workforce for small businesses to tap into is contingent upon a substantial educational foundation.
What does passage of the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) levy mean for small business?
As an affordable entry point to higher education, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) supports Greater Cleveland’s small business community by keeping college education and job training or retraining programs affordable, enhancing the region’s workforce competitiveness and readiness.
For every $1 invested into Tri-C, the College provides a return of $10 in positive economic benefit to Cuyahoga County. Tri-C asked voters to support its levy, in part to address a reduction in state and local funding that has occurred over the years. Without Issue 6, Tri-C would have had to cut $40 million from its budget, which would require serious reductions in programs and access to higher education.
COSE values Tri-C’s commitment and contribution to Northeast Ohio’s workforce and partners with the institution in several ways, including the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative and a program funded by the Department of Labor that provides training to dislocated workers in the area of information technology.
Finding, training and retraining a skilled workforce is one of the most challenging issues facing small business in Northeast Ohio. COSE and Tri-C will be working together closely over the next year to shape skills training and curriculum initiatives that can better support the small business community.
To read more about these issues and their impact check out the October COSE Update or the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Post-Election Report.