At Fortune's CEO Initiative conference.

By Jonathan Vanian
September 25, 2017
September 25, 2017

The nation’s schools must do better train young people for high-paying jobs.

That’s according to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who spoke Monday at Fortune‘s CEO Initiative conference in New York.

Kasich, a former 2016 Republican presidential nominee, said that companies should talk to education leaders and urge them to revamp their school curriculum to emphasize more on-the-job skills.

The governor said that he called the heads of several community colleges in Ohio and urged them to beef up on coursework related to cloud computing. That way, Ohio residents could be better ready for possible employment at Amazon’s amzn data centers that opened in the state in 2016.

When Amazon first announced it was building an Ohio data center in 2015 to power its Amazon Web Services business, it said at the time that it planned to hire 1,000 jobs “over the next few years.” The governor is hoping that the data centers will open the floodgates to other companies bringing high-tech jobs to the state, which suffered the loss of thousands of high-paid manufacturing jobs over the past few decades.

But it’s not all up to Ohio’s government to provide workers with skills, Kasich argued. To get the most qualified and skilled workforce, companies should spend money on constantly training their own employees. “It’s expensive, but it is in your interest,” he said.

Kasich also shared his thoughts on the following topics:

Being a CEO means making tough decisions:

Kasich said that CEO’s are faced with tough decisions about more issues than simply maximizing corporate profits. He cited the example of several business leaders resigning from President Donald Trump’s business advisory council after the president’s controversial comments about the Charlottesville, Va. white supremacist march as something “that took guts to do.”

Business leaders should hold politicians accountable:

Executives shouldn’t pay “lip service to these politicians,” Kasich said, and should instead play hardball with them more often. If a politician can’t get something done that an executive wants done, executives should tell them they are going to support another politician.

“Don’t be afraid,” Kasich said. “Tell them the truth and hold them accountable.”

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