As Governor, Ted Strickland fought to bring an end to disparities and create opportunities for African Americans while promoting diversity throughout state government. Governor Strickland’s carried out his commitment to make Ohio a place of equal access and opportunity for all people by expanding access to affordable healthcare, education and economic opportunity.
Created a Program to Increase the High School Graduation Rate. In 2007, Governor Strickland created a program targeted to increase the graduation rate among African American males. The Closing the Achievement Gap program engaged families, teachers and the community to help students overcome barriers to success. It was successful in increasing the rate of promotion, improving academic performance and reducing absenteeism. The program was expanded to boys and girls in elementary and middle schools as well as additional high schools to reach over 80,000 students statewide. [HB 119, 6/30/2007; HB 1, 7/17/2009; Policy Matters Ohio, 2009]
Increased African-American Representation in Ohio’s Judiciary. Of the 38 vacant judgeships Governor Strickland filled since 2007, he appointed 13 African Americans to fill seats. Only four of those 38 seats were previously held by African Americans. [Office of the Governor of Ohio]
Appointed Diverse Group to Cabinet and State Boards and Commissions. Governor Strickland’s appointments to head his cabinet-level agencies were 12 percent minority. Strickland’s appointments to Ohio’s regulatory and advisory boards and commissions were 16 percent minority. [Office of the Governor of Ohio]
Significantly Increased Support for Central State University. In 2007, Governor Strickland increased funding for Central State University by 28 percent. The public, historically black university in Wilberforce also received significant resources to help in renovations and new construction. [HB 119, 6/30/2007]
Kept Tuition Low to Increase Access to Higher Education. In tough economic times, Governor Strickland kept tuition to the lowest rate of growth in the nation over the past three years. Strickland froze tuition for two years and later capped increases at 3.5 percent after more than a decade of increases that averaged 9 percent per year. [HB 119, 6/30/2007; HB 1, 7/17/2009, The College Board; Ohio Board of Regents]
Partnered with JumpStart to Grow Minority-Owned Businesses. In 2010, Governor Strickland announced a partnership between the state of Ohio and JumpStart, a successful development non-profit organization, to create a pipeline of more than 100 “high-impact” minority-owned businesses over the next five years. Qualifying high-impact minority-owned firms must have the potential to create jobs and expand revenues. Participants receive help with business planning, branding, client contact and accessing millions in capital to expand operations. [JumpStart; Ohio Department of Development]
Improved Accountability for State Purchases with Minority-Owned Businesses. In 2008, Governor Strickland issued an executive order that required an annual report on the state’s efforts to improve the Minority Business Enterprise and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity programs. The order required an officer for each state agency to monitor progress in the state’s pursuit to spend more on products and services from Ohio’s minority-owned businesses and required a scorecard, for the very first time, to track that progress. In fiscal year 2009, the State of Ohio spent $138 million with state certified MBE/EDGE firms, an increase of more than $95 million from fiscal year 2008. Due to Governor Strickland’s targeted focus on increased spending with certified minority, women and small businesses, that number grew to $403 million in fiscal year 2010. [Executive Order 2008-13S, 6/25/2008]
Established the Minority Business Advisory Council. In 2009, Governor Strickland established the Minority Business Advisory Council, which is comprised of 40 minority business owners and advocates, to assist the Departments of Development and Administrative Services in providing critical support to Ohio’s minority-owned businesses. Strickland charged the MBAC with monitoring and reporting the effects of state policy, legislation and trends on minority businesses and developing and reporting strategies to positively impact Ohio’s minority-owned businesses. [Executive Order 2009-05S]
Increased Utilization of MBE/EDGE Businesses in State Government. The FY2010 MBE/EDGE Scorecard demonstrates a 42.8 percent increase in the utilization of MBE/EDGE certified businesses by cabinet agencies during the fiscal year 2010.
Signed Legislation that Increased EDGE Participation in Construction Projects. In December 2009, Governor Strickland signed House Bill 318 which designated one construction project at three different state universities as a Construction Reform Demonstration Project, which will utilize alternative methods of construction delivery. Each institution undertaking a Construction Reform Demonstration Project is required to use best efforts to seek to maximize EDGE business enterprise contracting on the project, altering from more than 132 years of standard project delivery practice