New Skills for Youth Phase One Snapshot: Ohio

Ohio's efforts in Phase One of the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) initiative built upon early work in accountability, career guidance and industry credential attainment to focus on expanding access to quality career pathways for all students in the state. One of the state's most notable accomplishments during this time period was mapping existing programs to identify those students who do not have access to high-quality career pathways. Ohio's reflective approach to mapping and analyzing data led to the launch of the state's SuccessBound brand and campaign, which it plans to use as a strategy to coalesce support for career readiness and raise awareness about opportunities  available to students.

Work During Phase One

Early in the Phase One planning period, Ohio's cross-sector NSFY project team made the decision to augment its needs assessment with a statewide survey to engage disparate stakeholders and gather input to inform the development of an action plan. The survey had targeted questions for each type of respondent including business leaders,
teachers, school administrators, school counselors, parents, students, community organization leaders and higher education administrators.The state also invested significant time and effort to ensure that the survey was disseminated as widely as possible. In one example, the Department of Education required all external presentations given by agency staff within a specific window to include a link to the survey. The team also marketed the survey to the general public through online advertisements and extensive communications efforts, ultimately generating more than 12,000 responses.

The survey was supplemented with focus groups, data analysis, and a review of existing state policies, which enabled the project team to approach the action planning system thoughtfully. Filtering responses by stakeholder group brought to light differences in perception among students, parents and educators. For example, the survey revealed that while 71 percent of students expressed interest in career-focused options, only 27 percent of administrators perceived there to be great interest.

Mapping Career Pathways Data to Highlight Access Gaps


The result of Ohio's career pathways mapping efforts

The Ohio project team took the opportunity afforded by the Phase One grant to intentionally examine and reflect on data to identify where and which students had limited access to high-quality career pathways. One of the initial challenges the team faced was figuring out how exactly to define access if, for example, a student lives in a district with a high-quality CTE program but is unable to enroll in that program due to prohibitive transportation costs. Ultimately,  the team chose to define access as having a high quality program within a 10 mile radius. Using this definition, the team mapped out each state approved career pathway, highlighting the geographic regions with limited access. The resulting map heavily informed the state’s planning process in Phase One. 

This intentional approach to examining and reflecting on data extended beyond the project team. In August, the team convened a group of more than 20 stakeholders, including members from the state education agency, the Governor’s Office, higher education and the business community, to review early results from the survey and discuss implications for Ohio’s career preparation system.

Launching SuccessBound 

Another early win for Ohio was the development of the SuccessBound brand. In addition to the perception gaps between students and administrators, Ohio’s needs assessment revealed that many students were unaware of the different career-focused opportunities available to them. To address these knowledge gaps, the Ohio project team immediately began to work on a communications strategy to target students, parents and educators and raise awareness about career preparation opportunities, particularly for underserved students in urban areas where access actually outpaced participation in high-quality career pathways.

During the six-month Phase One grant period, Ohio developed a brand and logo for the campaign. The state aims to use the SuccessBound campaign to drive career readiness efforts moving forward, helping to engage students early in their career trajectories and connect them with valuable career preparation opportunities. 

Combined Logos

Last Modified: 5/1/2017 12:22:01 PM