Here in the Ohio House, my colleagues and I are constantly looking for new ways to improve the lives of all Ohioans and to build a stronger future for our state. From business growth measures to education reforms, innovation has been a hallmark of the 129th General Assembly so far. Throughout 2012, we will be continuing this record with even more forward-thinking legislation.
To address these issues, the Ohio House Workforce Development Task Force was recently created. So far, this committee has held five hearings throughout Ohio to engage those who know workforce development best. The task force heard testimony from employers, employees, agencies, job seekers, students and educational institutions themselves. All in all, 85 separate testimonies were collected, providing valuable insight into what works and what is lacking in Ohio’s workforce development institutions.
In the coming months, the House will be using these valuable insights to strengthen existing programs and reform Ohio’s current system of workforce development. Significantly, we have found that the network of development programs needs to be consolidated to eliminate duplicative services and inefficiencies. In addition, a greater emphasis on collaboration within the existing network is needed in order to adequately train Ohioans for lucrative job positions. It takes a unified system working together to ensure the success of our citizens in the workplace.
The governor also made workforce development a major area of focus in his mid-biennium budget review. Perhaps the biggest area for potential jobs will be in the energy industry as Ohio moves forward on drilling for oil and natural gas. In order for these jobs to go to Ohioans, we must be proactive in our efforts to train individuals in college and in technical schools. Therefore, they will be ready to perform these tasks without the jobs going to out-of-state workers.
I am confident that Ohio can and will be a leader in developing and training a capable workforce that is prepared to meet the needs of the jobs market. By remaining focused on this issue and making sure that the training the state’s workers receive is relevant to job-creating industries, we can move into the future with confidence and set an example for other states to follow.