WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today visited The Job Center in Akron to highlight the number of dislocated workers who have received training through the Recovery Act. He also hosted a Workforce Development & Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Reauthorization Roundtable discussion with local business leaders and workforce development professionals. Participants spoke of the challenges facing businesses and workers in the development of a trained workforce consistent with the needs of the local economy while offering important feedback that will help Senator Brown strengthen the Workforce Investment Act.
"For too long, there has been a mismatch between our education and job training programs and the emerging sectors in our economy," Brown said. "By providing economic recovery funds to support training in high growth industries, we can strengthen our workforce and bring new jobs and economic development to northeast Ohio. This is a great example of how the recovery package can address the economic downturn while allowing Ohio to emerge from it more prepared for the 21st Century economy."
Brown and Summit County workforce leaders detailed how economic recovery funds have been used to support retraining and employment services. Of the 371 individuals who received individual job training at the Job Center since July 2009, 254 were funded by American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding. Brown also visited dislocated workers and trainees enrolled in jobs training programs.
Brown is a leading proponent of targeting workforce investment resources to provide regional, specialized training that supports high-growth industries. He introduced the bipartisan Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act of 2009. This legislation would support the development of specialized workforce training programs to meet the regional workforce needs of emerging industries.
He was joined today by: President, Tri-County AFL-CIO Bill Crooks; President & CEO, Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce Daniel Colantone; HR Manager, GOJO Industries Doug Detwiler; Interim Director, Summit County Job and Family Services Patricia Divoky; Manager, Government Affairs Megann Eberhart; Chair, Summit County WIA Board & Senior Economic Development Executive, FirstEnergy Melissa Frank; HR Director Steere Enterprises Sherman Gandee; Director of Medina County Workforce Development William Hanigan; Director of Workforce Development & Continuing Education, University of Akron Daniel Hickey; Director, Akron Global Business Accelerator Mike Lehere; Managing Director, Northwest Mutual Daniel Leslie; President, Goodwill Industries Nan McClenaghan; President & CEO, Summit Workforce Solutions Scott Meyer; President, Promold Gauer Steve Schler; Vice President of HR, Akron Children's Hospital Walt Schwoeble; Manager, The Job Center Ralph Sinistro; Deputy Director of Economic Development, Summit County Scott Wagner; Deputy Director of Workforce Development for Summit County Jill Weingart.