Ohio Coalition Talks Sectors at Lobby Day.

March 21, 2013

The Ohio Workforce Coalition held a lobby day at the State Capitol on March 20 to educate state lawmakers on the power that sector or industry partnerships have on closing skill gaps and equipping workers with skilled credentials required by industries.

Ohio is home to several effective partnerships serving the advanced manufacturing, bioscience, construction, information technology, logistics, and marine industries. Much of this work has been supported through federal, philanthropic, and other private sector resources. While state investments are not necessarily part of these partnerships' funding plans, it is now seen as critical to their sustainability and the development of new collaborations in more areas of the state.

To this end, the coalition and Partners for a Competitive Workforce, the Cincinnati-based affiliate of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, has developed a proposal to fund regional industry sector partnerships around the state. It calls for an investment of $10 million over two years to establish a competitive grant program that can support 30 regional industry partnerships. The coalition estimates that these partnerships would be able to serve 750 employers, and train 10,000 Ohioans for in-demand jobs. The grant program would also be structured as a public/private partnership as it would seek to leverage an additional $5 million from employers and other community stakeholders. To date, 136 employers, colleges, community-based organizations, and other stakeholder groups have endorsed the proposal. Nearly half of these endorsements have come from employers or industry organizations.

Coalition leaders have held several promising meetings with the Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) to discuss the proposal. Governor Kasich created this office last year through an executive order, and charged it with the task of coordinating and aligning workforce policies, programs, and resources across state agencies to ensure their efficiency and effectiveness. The coalition will continue to work with OWT on ways it can incorporate the regional industry sector partnership proposal into its overall efforts to improve the state workforce system.