This week, House Bill 2 passed out of the Ohio House by a vote of 92-3. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce supports this legislation and believes that it will be helpful to employers in attempting to bridge the workforce gap.
HB 2, a key initiative of Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, would create the TechCred program. This program is designed to assist employers in “upskilling” their existing workforce as well as attracting prospective employees. Earlier, HB 2 was amended to include many changes, most of which we supported. The Ohio Chamber testified in support of the legislation recently. Highlights of the bill are as follows:
- Expands the definition of “microcredential” to mean an industry-recognized credential or certificate that an individual may complete in one year or less.
- Allows for an open enrollment period for employers to apply for the grant program.
- Removes the wage requirement that was included in the as-introduced version of the bill but does allow for employers to include potential wage increases in their application.
- Expands the list of organizations that may be members of an industry sector partnership to further the shared goal of meeting the industry cluster’s human resources needs.
Following the bill being voted out of House Economic and Workforce Development Committee, HB 2 was referred to the House Finance Committee for further deliberation on the bill due to the appropriation that is included in the bill in order to fund the program.
A version of the TechCred Program was also included in the version of the state budget put forth by the Ohio Senate this week. It is our hope that the program, whether through HB 2 or the budget, moves quickly through the legislative process in order to help Ohio businesses as they deal with one of the biggest issues they are facing today: workforce development and workforce shortages