Last month, the Ohio House and Senate passed a bill that designated March 2012 as “Skilled Workforce Recognition Month.” The intention behind this act was to pay tribute to the workers and laborers that have helped make our state what it is today. It is also fitting that this bill passed when it did, considering the encouraging statistics that were recently released that indicated substantial job growth in Ohio.

In February, Ohio gained 28,300 jobs, which was better than any other state in the country. Those numbers built off of an impressive January that saw 25,000 jobs created. The promising start to 2012 is also evidenced by the fact that Ohio’s unemployment rate has continued to fall, now standing at 7.6 percent, which is lower than the national average.

These numbers show the spectacular impact the private sector can make when it is given the opportunity to succeed and can avoid heavy tax burdens and endless red tape. Ohioans have seen in the past just how restrictive and harmful an expansive and inefficient government can be for job creation, and the restructuring of taxes and regulations by the 129th General Assembly have represented a sincere effort to grant freedom back to the job creators in the state.

As the economy grows, however, it becomes even more important to develop the human capital that will soon be filling these jobs. My mission since joining the House has been to do what is best for Ohioans, and that includes making sure that they have the resources and training they need to respond to the demands of a growing jobs market.

In the coming weeks and months, the Ohio House will be evaluating ways to improve upon our existing workforce development system, a system that over time has become bulky and inefficient. Ohio currently has 77 workforce training programs in 13 agencies, which has resulted in not only government waste, but also a lack of accountability. In a system as large as that, good ideas can easily be lost and replaced by ineffective ideas that simply advance the status quo.

Part of the upcoming effort will be to find creative ways to match the demands of the jobs market with relevant training courses at colleges and technical schools. Moreover, we must identify and emphasize the importance of communication across state agencies, so that the best ideas can be shared and implemented.


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