WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today identified five key priorities to create jobs and help Ohioans rejoin the workforce. Many components of Brown’s jobs package are modeled after successful initiatives in Lorain County and throughout the state of Ohio. President Obama will visit Lorain County Community College tomorrow as part of his White House Main Street Tour.
"Lorain County has seen its share of economic challenges, but its workers, businesses, and community organizations have addressed them head-on with innovative solutions," Brown said. "Our top priority is creating jobs, and I'm glad President Obama is bringing his Main Street tour to Ohio. For decades, our state has been home to large-scale manufacturers and cutting-edge entrepreneurs. With the right priorities in Washington, we can create new jobs by helping small businesses expand operations and manufacturers retool for the clean energy economy."
Brown was joined by John Goodish and Roy Church on today’s news conference call. Both guests emphasized the importance of job-creation investments and pointed to initiatives from Lorain County and communities across Ohio that have helped connect workers with good-paying jobs.
Brown has held more than 140 roundtables since being sworn into office in 2007 – holding at least one roundtable discussion with community leaders in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Many of Brown’s legislative priorities, including his jobs initiatives, originated from the roundtable discussions.
1. Unfreezing the credit market for small businesses and manufacturers: Small businesses create 64 percent of jobs nationwide, but are struggling to obtain the credit they need to expand operations and hire new workers. Brown is the author of the Small Business Emergency Relief Act, which would temporarily raise maximum amounts and waive certain fees for loans administered by the Small Business Administration. This bill, aimed at unfreezing the credit market for small businesses, would increase the caps for SBA’s most popular loan programs. Last year, in a major address on jobs, President Obama announced his desire to use remaining TARP funds to achieve the goals of this legislation.
More than two-dozen small businesses in Lorain County alone have successfully been awarded ARRA funds to save and create jobs.
2. Helping small and mid-sized manufacturers (particularly former auto suppliers and auto component manufacturers – Ohio’s largest industry) retool for the clean energy economy: Last year, you introduced the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act, which would establish a $30 billion Manufacturing Revolving Loan Fund to help small- and mid-sized manufacturers transition to the clean energy economy through retooling. The bill would also expand the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) in order to help manufacturers access new export markets. It is estimated to have the potential to generate more than $100 billion in revenue for clean energy businesses and create 680,000 direct manufacturing jobs and nearly two million indirect jobs over five years.
Because of the Recovery Act, more than two dozen small businesses in Lorain have been able to access the credit they need to hire workers and expand operations.
3. Fostering entrepreneurialism and the creation of new jobs through business incubators: Ohio is home to dozens of successful “business incubators” and the National Business Incubation Association. Brown is the author of The Business Incubator Promotion Act, which would support and create “business incubators” in hard-hit regions of Ohio and the country. Under his proposal, more Ohio communities would be eligible to receive funds, with support through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) directed to economically hard-hit regions. Business incubators provide support to existing and start-up companies, helping them to grow and create jobs. According to an independent report commissioned by the EDA, for every $10,000 in EDA funds invested in business incubators, an estimated 47-69 local jobs are generated. In rural areas, business incubator projects are the most effective type of EDA projects.
Lorain County is home to the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE), a regional innovation center and business incubator that helps entrepreneurs create jobs in Northeast Ohio.
4. Preparing workforce for new jobs through tailored, regional workforce development programs: Brown is a leading proponent of targeting workforce investment resources to provide regional, specialized training that supports high-growth industries. He is the author of the “Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success” (SECTORS) Act, bipartisan legislation which addresses the disparity between high unemployment rates and a shortage of skilled workers for many emerging industries. The bill would provide grants for sector partnerships among institutions of higher education, industry, organized labor, and workforce boards aimed at creating customized solutions for specific industries at the regional level. A sector approach can focus on the dual goals of promoting the long-term competitiveness of industries and advancing employment opportunities for workers.
Lorain County Community College provides targeted training for high-growth industries, and is home to the state’s first associate degree program in wind turbine installation and maintenance.
5. Enforcement of trade laws to invest in domestic manufacturing and production: U.S. manufacturers can compete globally, but not if products made with unfair subsidies from around the world are dumped into our country. As one of Congress' leading voices on trade, Brown has authored the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act, legislation which would give the federal government more authority to address trade barriers. The legislation would require the U.S. Trade Representative to analyze trade barriers that have the most adverse effect on U.S. exports and employment, and crack down on these unfair practices. In November, marking the ten-year anniversary of the World Trade Organization (WTO) demonstrations in Seattle and the Nov. 30-Dec 2 WTO ministerial in Geneva, Switzerland, Brown reintroduced the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act. Brown's bill would revamp U.S. trade policy by mandating trade pact reviews, establishing higher standards, protecting workers in developing nations, and restoring Congressional oversight of future trade agreements.
U.S. Steel in Lorain County has benefited from a recent ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that steel tube imports from China have injured the U.S. industry. The ruling will allow for a border measure on imports, which will help domestic producers and workers at U.S. Steel, V & M STAR in Youngstown, and Wheatland Tube Co. in Warren.
Brown also highlighted recovery efforts from across the state that showcase Ohio community initiatives to secure the state’s economy and create jobs. Since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Ohio ranks first in the nation in clean energy jobs created out of federal recovery investments. BASF Catalysts LLC based in Elyria received $24.6 million in federal funds to spur new jobs and economic growth through their proposal to create the largest advanced energy lithium ion battery production facility in North America. BASF’s award, allocated through the U.S. Department of Energy’s grant program represents a share of the single largest investment in advanced battery technology.