Over the last two weeks, the Ohio Chamber has lent their support to many workforce development bills in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate. The issue of workforce development remains one of the top concerns for Ohio businesses and clearly, the legislature is attempting to address these concerns through the number of programs proposed within these bills.
The first bill to look at is House Bill 2; legislation that would create the TechCred Program. As our letter of support states, HB 2 will assist employers with filling existing workforce vacancies within their own company, as well as “upskill” their current employees. The program is already up and running, but HB 2 will codify the process and provide more guidelines as to how the program will be administered. For more information on the program and to apply, please see the following link: www.techcred.ohio.gov.
The next bill is House Bill 4, which requires the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation to act as a liaison between the business community and the Department of Education (ODE) or the Chancellor of Higher Education (ODHE) with regard to industry-recognized credentials or certificate programs. Although this is already going on between businesses and either ODE or ODHE, we believe that codifying this process will be helpful.
Senate Bill 109 is a similar approach to what the legislature attempted to do in the 131st General Assembly with House Bill 1. The program created within SB 109, the Workforce Scholarship Program, would be a pilot program that ties scholarship dollars to programs geared at preparing individuals for careers that are deemed in-demand. We were in support of HB 1 previously and support SB 109 now as it has the potential to drive more workers to jobs that are in-demand.
The final bill that the Ohio Chamber supported over the past two weeks is Senate Bill 181. This legislation would require the Chancellor of Higher Education to create a template for workforce-education partnership programs between an institution of higher education and an employer. We believe this type of program has the potential of helping employers fill existing workforce shortages, and at the same time, help alleviate some of the burden placed on students as it relates to the cost of higher education. Overall, there are a lot of programs being proposed to address the issue of workforce development. We are hopeful that with this type of focus being placed on this issue, and the creativity that these programs allow for, will be able to effectively tackle one of the top issues plaguing the employer community in Ohio.