For Immediate Release
June 3, 2014
For Further Information Contact:
Johnson County Commissioner Ed Peterson reported that his proposal to develop an “employment pipeline” is moving forward through actions of the Board of County Commissioners and staff. The employment pipeline concept would connect high school, community college and university students with employers to enable direct on-the-job learning with focused curriculum in the schools.
The concept would build upon small pilot projects already in existence to provide employers with well-trained employees while possibly reducing education costs for students and their families. Peterson proposed that seed money come from funds that remain from the county’s share of a retail sales tax passed by Johnson County voters in 2002 to aid K-12 education in Johnson County. The tax expired in 2008, but the funds have been held since then as part of county reserves.
On May 22, the Board of County Commissioners agreed that the idea should be pursued and informally directed the County Manager to develop a plan for discussing the concept with interested groups in the community. The County Manager has circulated a general plan and list of stakeholders who will be contacted over the summer and invited to participate in an open discussion. Interested stakeholders include the county, school district representatives, the Johnson County Community College and universities in Johnson County, major employers, interested foundations, and non-profit groups.
Peterson stated that he is pleased with the progress to date: “In the short time since I proposed this idea, the importance of the County taking a leadership role in linking employers with education has become evident, and momentum is building behind the concept. The employment pipeline offers the potential of a highly trained and specialized work force that would build job opportunities and create economic development. We all can win, especially our young people who are the future vitality of this community.”
Peterson is First District Commissioner on the Board of County Commissioners, and is a candidate for Chairman of the Commission in the Aug. 5 primary election.