Equipping Ohio workers for 21st Century Jobs

Mansfield New Journal

For generations, Ohio manufacturers have made the products that keep America moving forward. Ohioans have always known how to make things. And, as manufacturing changes to meet 21st century needs, our work force must also adapt.

In a recent Mansfield News Journal article "Ontario business owner: Area workers don't have skills needed" an Ohio business leader noticed a disturbing trend that we're working to address: manufacturing jobs are available in north central Ohio, but many workers don't have the necessary skills.

This disconnect is particularly troubling in such tough economic times.

That's why I've introduced the "Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success" (SECTORS) Act.

This bipartisan piece of legislation supports the development of targeted work force training programs to meet the specialized needs of regional emerging industries, or "sectors." These training programs will be based at two-year colleges-- whose importance to our state's higher education system are growing by the day and offer a highly affordable alternative to traditional four-year institutions.

A 2006 study by the Wright State Center for Urban and Public Affairs revealed 21,000 vacant private sector jobs in a 10-county region and more than 26,000 unemployed at the time. Since then, the work force landscape has changed dramatically, but the skills mismatch remains a critical and growing problem that must be addressed if the region is to recover quickly. Future demand shortfalls in information technology, mechanical engineering and clinical lab science are some of the major shortfalls that must be addressed now.

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Equipping Ohio workers for 21st Century Jobs »