AEDE’s C. William Swank Program Hosts Advisory Council Meeting Focused on Workforce Development

Dec. 13, 2012

Last week, AEDE’s C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy, which is overseen by AEDE’s Professor Mark Partridge as the Chair of the program, hosted it’s twice yearly Advisory Council meeting. The meeting focused on trends in workforce development and skills, taking a look at recent Ohio and national research on this topic. The meeting featured guest presentations to inform and guide the discussion from John Magill, Assistant Deputy Chancellor of Economic Advancement for the Ohio Board of Regents, and Hannah Halbert, Policy Liaison at Policy Matters Ohio.

In their presentations Magill and Halbert focused on workforce development looking at both the Ohio and the national picture. As part of their review they offered forecasts for workforce needs in the coming years. In focusing on the fact that in 2018, 84 percent of new jobs in Ohio will require some post-secondary education, the speakers acknowledged the gap between the workforce development skills of Ohio workers and the current and future needs of employers. The presentations focused on the need to better prepare the Ohio workforce for emerging industries, including how to gauge and prepare for employer needs, the development of better workforce training programs, the role of schools in preparing students for employment, as well as the need for increased dialogue on workforce development between various public and private entities.

The Swank Program Advisory Council meetings focus on topics for potential research for the Swank Program team, helping to inform the agenda of the Swank Program in the coming months. In looking at workforce development trends and forecasts for potential needs, the Swank Program team was given input from a wide array of public and private sector advisors on research needs in this area.

The meeting also offered the Advisory Council the opportunity to receive an update on the work of the Swank Program, including the following highlights from 2012:

  • As the Swank Program Chair, Professor Partridge has been involved with a variety of research projects that have generated over $4 million in grant funding.
  • The Swank Program team recently presented the program’s research to audiences at the Midwest Governors Association, the Columbus Roundtable Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, the North American Regional Science Association, the European Regional Science Association, the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, as well as presentations at universities in the U.S., China, Italy and France.
  • Swank Program research was recently published in several academic journals, including the International Regional Science Review, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and the International Economic Journal.
  • As the Swank Program Chair, Professor Partridge has performed numerous national and international professional service obligations, including serving as the Co-Editor of the Journal of Regional Science, serving as an economic consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and serving on the editorial boards of the Annals of Regional Science and the Review of Regional Studies.
  • As the Swank Program Chair, Professor Partridge was interviewed for a number of media outlets including Reuters, American Public Media, Bloomberg News, and Columbus Business First, among others.

The Advisory Council, which generally appoints members for a two-year term, is comprised of partners from Ohio economic departments, planning commissions, environmental councils, as well as contacts with interests in agricultural, economic development, and energy policy from the private sector, the non-profit world, and academia. At the December 2012 meeting, awards were presented by Professor Partridge to Advisory Council members who had served for multiple terms, including Steve Kelley, Senior Economist, Policy Research and Strategic Planning, Ohio Department of Development; Mark Froehlich, Director Asset Restructuring Services, NAI Ohio Equities, LLC; and Francille Firebaugh, Retired Cornell/OSU Administrator.

The Swank Program identifies and organizes research led by The Ohio State University focused on rural-urban policy and rural and regional development. Swank Program activities have included organizing national conferences and symposia, undertaking and sponsoring analysis of policy options, striving to improve communication among interests at the rural-urban interface, bringing timely information to policymakers and citizens, and establishing a national center of excellence on rural-urban policy research and education at The Ohio State University. These activities have also facilitated the education of many undergraduate and graduate students at Ohio State. The Swank Chair was named in honor of Dr. William Swank, retired Executive Vice President of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, who, for over 50 years, provided outstanding leadership and vision in addressing both rural and urban issues, recognizing the need for objective analysis to promote the understanding and resolution of critical policy issues.

December 13, 2012