In Wake of House-Passed Budget That Would Curb Programs That Help Ohio Workers Retrain For New Jobs, Brown Visits The Employment Source In Canton To Call For Preservation of Workforce Investment Act Funds

Nearly $4 Million in Recovery Act Workforce Investment Funds Directed to Stark County; More Than 8,200 Stark Countians Utilized Self-SErvice One-Stop Between July 2010 and February 2011

CANTON, OH—In the wake of the budget plan passed by House Republicans that would slash more than $60 billion over ten years for programs that help Ohio workers retrain for and find new jobs, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited The Employment Source in Canton to call for the preservation of these programs, which are funded through the Workforce Investment Act. The Employment Source Executive Director Alice Stephens joined Brown to discuss the need to preserve WIA-funded programs, as new statistics from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) showed that 8,216 Stark Countians utilized services provided by One-Stops between July 2010 and February 2011.

“The best way to reduce our deficit is to get Americans working again. One-Stop centers like The Employment Source help put Ohioans back in good-paying jobs by retraining workers for new careers and connecting jobseekers with employers that are hiring,” Brown said. “But if House Republicans had their way, they’d cut these successful programs by upwards of $6 billion a year for the next year. Rather than cutting tax breaks for millionaires and subsidies for Big Oil, they want to balance the budget on the backs of seniors that rely on Medicare and jobless Ohioans.”

“Ohio received more than $370 million in workforce investment funds from the Recovery Act—money that helped put Ohioans back to work and is helping spur our economic recovery. Now is not the time to stall Ohio’s comeback by slashing workforce training programs,” Brown continued.

“Senator Brown is a strong supporter of the public workforce system funded by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). He understands the need for a skilled, educated workforce to ensure economic growth in our region,” said Alice Stephens, executive director of The Employment Source. “We thank him for taking time to visit The Employment Source today and for his continued fight for WIA reauthorization legislation and adequate funding for workforce programs and services.”

Brown was also joined by Guy Pietra, the Human Resources Director at Union Metal. Union Metal produces steel and aluminum pools for lighting, traffic control, signage and communication. Union Metal has hired 15 employees referred by the Business Services Unit at the Employment Source with a salary range of $37,500 to $80,000. Also attending was Tonya Wheeler of Massillon, who—thanks to WIA-funded programs—was able to complete her education to become a Registered Nurse (RN) and will soon begin a new position as a supervisor floor nurse at Shady Lawn Nursing Home in Dalton.

Last week, Policy Matters Ohio (PMO) released a new report showing that the more than $370 million invested in Ohio from the Recovery Act for employment assistance and job training funds had a significant impact in saving jobs and retraining workers for new careers. These funds, invested in Ohio through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), were primarily targeted to “One-Stop” centers providing a variety of services—from Internet and telephone access for job applicants to retraining programs for those who need to update skills for a new career. Policy Matters Ohio’s report found that WIA funds were well-targeted, as counties with greater economic distress received more funding per capita than counties with stronger economies. According to PMO, Stark County received $3,396,000 in WIA funds through the Recovery Act.

“The Recovery Act created or preserved millions of jobs, kept 4.5 billion Americans out of poverty, and helped stabilize our economy, which was on a real precipice. Our report found that Workforce Investment Funds—more than $370 million for our state alone—did an enormous amount to train Ohioans for the jobs of tomorrow. Cutting back on these critical programs is a wrong-headed move that could seriously jeopardize Ohio’s economic recovery,” said Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters Ohio, who also joined Brown at The Employment Source.

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