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Superintendent Jeff Saunders
February 23, 2018 : New council to develop partnerships for Lawrence County schools, businesses
A new group in Lawrence County, Ohio is working to strengthen the relationship between employers and schools. The Lawrence County Educational Service Center Business Advisory Council is leading the effort to better prepared for business and industry once they complete high school. The Business Advisory Council is a panel of twenty school leaders and employers who will develop strategies for a more responsive bond between education and workforce.
The Business Advisory Council is the result of new policy in the Ohio Department of Education which requires the development of working relationships between business, labor organizations and educators to develop a responsive plan to meet economic and labor force changes in a community. In Lawrence County, the Business Advisory Council is administered by the Educational Service Center. 
Superintendent Jeff Saunders said the new collaborative will benefit students as well as employers.  “We are extremely excited about this Business Advisory Council and the great opportunity for the Educational Service Center and the school districts of Lawrence County,” Saunders said. “By collaborating with businesses, schools will be better able to meet the occupational needs of businesses and better prepare our students for the workforce,” he continued. 
The Council representatives are from the following organizations:  Guys Floor Covering, Hecla Water Corporation, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, Proctorville Animal Clinic, Briggs Library, Ohio Department of Transportation, C.J. Hughes Construction, Ohio University Southern, Department of Job and Family Services and the Lawrence County Educational Service Center. 
Saunders serves as Chair of the Council, which also includes school superintendents from Symmes Valley, Ironton, Chesapeake Union, South Point, Fairland, Dawson Bryant, Rock Hill districts and Collins Career Technical Center.
Dr. Nicole Pennington, Dean of Ohio University Southern, is encouraged by potential benefits of the collaboration.  “Any time educators and employers work together, it is a win for students as well as the community,” Pennington said.
The Business Advisory Council will convene in April to start developing specific strategies to meet requirements of the new policy.  The Council must present its plan to Ohio Department of Education by September 30, 2018, and begin reporting on its outcomes in spring 2019.