WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today visited the Youngstown Business Incubator for a roundtable discussion aimed at advancing his "Ohio Brain Gain Campaign," ensuring that Ohio attracts and retains talented young people in Ohio.
"The Youngstown Business Incubator is a ‘brain gain' success story," Brown said. "By retaining young Ohioans and attracting new talent to the region, it has created an atmosphere that promotes entrepreneurialism and innovation," Brown said. "Today's discussion is aimed at exploring how we can create and maintain livable communities that will attract a broad mix of young people, entrepreneurs, and business leaders who can keep Ohio innovative and competitive in the 21st century economy. I'm working to make Ohio a manufacturing hub for cutting-edge technology developed and produced by our state's talented workforce."
Brown was joined by young professionals and local business leaders to craft new strategies to stop the so-called "brain-drain" impacting Ohio communities, a trend which Brown is working to reverse. In 2008, only 62.7 percent of Bachelor's Degree holders and 56.44 percent of Graduate degree holders still lived in Ohio three years after graduating from one of Ohio's institutions of higher education. Last year, the Thomas Fordham Institute commissioned a survey of Ohio college students on their post graduation plans. Fifty-eight percent responded that they planned to leave the state. Their perceptions were that Ohio fell short on offering job opportunities, career advancement, and social life. Brown believes that our state's future success depends on retaining talent and is working to keep talented young people in Ohio
To encourage young people to start working and building a family in Ohio, Brown is actively working to bolster Ohio's ability to help cities, towns, and rural areas thrive. In an effort to make Ohio's communities more livable, the Senate Banking Committee, on which Brown serves, recently passed the Livable Communities Act. This legislation would provide communities with resources to empower local and regional planning and help communities promote sustainable economic development.
Since being sworn-in to office in 2007, Brown has worked to ensure more Ohioans receive the education and training they need to secure the jobs of the 21st century. Sen. Brown also introduced the "Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success" (SECTORS) Act to promote job creation. This bipartisan piece of legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2010, supports the development of targeted workforce training programs to meet the specialized needs of regional emerging industries, or "sectors."
Under the SECTORS Act, local stakeholders-business and industry partners, unions, education and training providers, and workforce and development administrators-will develop a targeted plan for that industry. Such targeted plans will help ensure that local workers have access to critical training and workforce development programs to give them the skills they need to meet the needs of emerging industries. A skilled workforce bolsters Ohio's long-term competitiveness and helps attract new business and economic development.
Brown also introduced the Building Student Success Act which would support grants to launch systemic, date-driven approached to improving student outcomes at community colleges and open enrollment institutions, producing more college graduates for Ohio employers. Providing more targeted educational opportunities for workers who can benefit from a two-year degree will help meet demand for skilled workers and lower the unemployment rate. In Ohio, only 10 percent of students enrolled in community colleges earn a degree after 3 years.
The most recent Census data available showed a population decline among young, college-educated people. The Livable Communities Act would better coordinate local, state and federal housing and transportation programs while saving taxpayer dollars.
The "Ohio Brain Gain Campaign" is an extension of Brown's "Made in Ohio" agenda. With the top priority of creating Ohio jobs, Brown is fighting for a multi-pronged effort to promote economic development - from working to position Ohio as the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing, to establishing the state as a hub for the high-growth industries. The key components of Brown's jobs strategy are:
- Developing Ohio's workforce so that Ohioans are prepared to fill the jobs of the 21st century, ensuring that talented young people remain or relocate to Ohio, and revitalizing the state's infrastructure to attract high-growth industries.
- Promoting the expansion of Ohio businesses by strengthening small business lending programs and aiding President Obama's goal to significantly boost U.S. exports.
- Transitioning away from our dependence on foreign oil to a clean energy future in which jobs are centered in the small businesses, manufacturing facilities, and universities of Ohio.
- Making sure that Ohio industry isn't undermined due to unfair trade by pursuing remedies to counteract China's currency manipulation and subsidization of domestic industries.
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