As your State Senator, one of the most rewarding things to do is to travel through our district and meet with our neighbors and businesses. This helps me to stay in touch with your needs so that I can effectively represent our community in the Ohio Statehouse.
As I make my way across the Miami Valley, the main issue that I hear about is jobs. Whether we are talking about displaced workers or recent college graduates, our nation has yet to recover from the recession that robbed our economy of employment and weakened our financial stability. That’s why I have made it my mission in the Ohio Statehouse to devote myself to resolving this persistent issue, not just with jobs, but with long-term, well-paying jobs that restore our confidence in our ability to provide for our families.
One of the greatest assets that the Miami Valley has in fighting unemployment is our strong manufacturing industry. Manufacturing is important to a local economy on multiple levels because it requires workers who are trained in a multitude of different fields. From managers to accountants and welders to machine operators, the manufacturing sector of our economy brings the promise of jobs to people of many different educational and skills backgrounds.
Since I became your State Senator, the unemployment rate in our three-county region has dropped from 10.6 percent to 7.3 percent. With unemployment 3.3 percent lower today than it was in January 2011, great improvements have certainly been made. However, we still have more than 24,000 unemployed people in our area, which is not a standard that I’m willing to accept. What is more troubling about this number is that despite the number of unemployed workers in Ohio, there are as many as 80,000 open jobs in the state that are currently unfilled. This shows that Ohio must do more to ensure that those in our workforce are properly trained for the jobs that are available.
It is for this reason that I’m a staunch supporter of the idea behind the creation of the Office of Workforce Transformation. Through this office the state works with colleges, universities, and technical schools to expand educational opportunities that will train workers for jobs in specific industries that have a demand for workers. This exciting program works to coordinate the resources of 77 different state programs into a single entry point for our unemployed workers so their skills can be retooled for work in an industry where jobs are waiting to be filled.
Our region stands to benefit immensely from the success of this initiative. On June 6th of this year, the Dayton Business Journal reported that there were 700 open manufacturing jobs in the Dayton area. In that same report, the DBJ states that over 70 percent of the manufacturers involved in the survey reported that their greatest obstacle in filling those open positions was finding workers with the proper skills. If we begin to educate our workforce for the jobs that we know there is a demand for, it will mean great things for local manufacturing and even greater things for local job seekers.
With this coming Friday being National Manufacturing Day, I will be travelling the district and taking part in several different events. There will be open houses and facility tours occurring throughout the day at the following manufacturing shops in the area: Stillwater Technologies (Troy), Dysinger, Inc. (Dayton), FC Industries (Dayton), Dayton Progress Corporation (Dayton), Silfex, Inc. (Eaton), Staub Manufacturing Solutions (Dayton), McGregor Metalworking Companies (Springfield), and Rexarc International (West Alexandria). For more information and to register for facility tours visit mfgday.com. I hope that I will see you at some of these events as we celebrate one of the Miami Valley’s greatest industries.
As I work in the Statehouse to make Ohio a better place to live and work, I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts, concerns, and ideas. As always you can contact my office by phone at (614)466-6247 or by email by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write my office at The Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio 43215. I look forward to hearing from you.
Senator Bill Beagle serves the people of Ohio’s 5th Senate District, which includes Miami County and portions of Montgomery and Darke Counties. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.