COLUMBUS, OHIO -- The Ohio Afterschool Network held a statewide Municipal Summit on Afterschool and Expanded Learning at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. Hosted by National League of Cities President and Cleveland Councilmember Matt Zone, featured speakers included Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson. Reginald McGregor, director of Engineer Development, Rolls-Royce Corporation, provided a keynote address. The Ohio Afterschool Network was selected by the National League of Cities as one of seven statewide afterschool networks to host a municipal summit.
"In our changing economy, millions of jobs are going unfilled due to the gap between the skills workers have and the experience employers need," said NLC President Matt Zone. "Afterschool provides hands-on experience, exposure to career pathways, and develops essential skills to help us close this gap."
The summit represented the first statewide convening of local elected officials focused specifically on the issue of afterschool. The summit brought together city leaders, state agency officials, and school and community partners to focus on expanding afterschool opportunities for children and youth in the state. Ohio was chosen to host this event based on demonstrated need and interest from its SAN and other education stakeholders and civic leaders.
"We are pleased that Columbus was chosen as the host city for the Ohio After School Network’s Municipal Summit and we thank the National League of Cities for their support," said Columbus City Council President Pro Tempore Priscilla Tyson, who is also a member of the NLC board of directors. "Our young people represent the future so we must seize the opportunity to invest in them. This summit will allow policy makers to review best practice strategies for increasing access, participation and funding."
In addition to focusing on afterschool and summer learning programs as workforce development for cities, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley stressed the importance of federal assistance in funding these local initiatives. The White House budget proposal released last month would completely cut the federal 21st Century Community Learning grants that many cities rely on to help fund their afterschool and summer learning programs.
"Afterschool and summer learning programs help children and youth develop the skills that will put them on a path to success in school, postsecondary education, and careers," said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. "Programs like the City of Learners initiative in Dayton highlight the need for additional focus in these areas. Given the $1.2 billion in proposed budget cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Center grants that fund programs nationwide and support 40,000 kids across Ohio, this summit provides an opportunity for municipal leaders to share the importance of federal funding for afterschool programs and the real impact they have on lives of children in our communities."
Other state networks selected to host summits include: The Florida Afterschool Network, the Indiana Afterschool Network, the Kansas Enrichment Network, the Missouri Afterschool Network and the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership. The SANs are statewide organizations dedicated to improving policies, partnerships, funding and quality of afterschool opportunities. NLC has supported 19 state municipal summits over the past five years. All of the afterschool networks will partner with mayoral champions to host the summits, with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and The Wallace Foundation.
SOURCE: National League of Cities