Concerns over the region’s educational level Featured

9:57am EDT July 22, 2002

At the March Corporate Club Breakfast, local business execs heard a top civic leader worry aloud over the future of this region’s competitiveness, given its subpar investment in education.

Robert Rawson, partner-in-charge of Cleveland-based Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, the nation’s second largest law firm, said he’s not concerned about being able to attract top law school graduates to the firm. “We would like to be importers of talent to Cleveland,” he said. But he is concerned about the crop of quality candidates to fill other positions at Jones, Day and other organizations in the region.

Only 25 percent of the adult population in the Cleveland-Akron area holds college degrees, he pointed out, while an estimated 60 percent of the jobs in the 21st century will require that level of education. “In the knowledge century, we will need to have sophisticated people at all levels” of companies and other organizations. And yet, he noted, “Ohio ranks 40th in the level of [education] appropriations per student ... so we have a way to go.”

In his life outside the law, Rawson is steeped in the issue of education as a volunteer. He chairs the board of Princeton University and was instrumental in forming the Cleveland Initiative for Education, a private-sector effort to support the Cleveland Public Schools.

Rawson, who grew up in Cleveland, joked that he decided to become a lawyer only after he realized that he would never play third base for the Cleveland Indians. “I was small, but I sure was slow,” he said. “So I realized I would have to make my living with this muscle,” pointing to his head.

SBN is a sponsor of the Corporate Club breakfast, which is conducted in an interview format and is followed by a question and answer period. The events are held Tuesday mornings, with breakfast at 7 a.m. and the speaker at 7:30. Cost is $25 per person.

Next up:

  • April 13, 1999: Andrew Randall, executive vice president and regional chairman, Star Bank

  • May 11, 1999: Sister Diana Stano, president, Ursuline College

  • June 1, 1999: John Brinzo, CEO, Cleveland Cliffs Corp.

For more information and reservations, call Executive Caterers at Landerhaven, at (440) 449-0700.