Ohio is on the rise, but workforce an issue


By Ryan Berry


GREENVILLE – The Darke County Chamber of Commerce and its Legislative Committee hosted the annual State of the State Luncheon on Friday, Dec. 2 at Romer’s Catering in Greenville. The banquet was nearly filled with chamber members and their guests to receive an update on the state from Lt. Governor Jon Husted.

Husted praised the direction Ohio’s legislature and administration are going in making Ohio more attractive to businesses. One of the biggest highlights was the selection of Ohio as the future home of Intel in Licking County. The business will be making semiconductors beginning in 2025.

While that announcement and other similar announcements are great for the state, it also creates a new problem. “We’re very blessed to live in Ohio because Ohio is on the rise. We are creating jobs faster than we can find people to fill them,” said Husted.

OhioMeansJobs.com currently has 200,000 job listings with 120,000 of those jobs paying over $50,000 a year. The problem for the state is there are only 40,000 persons currently receiving unemployment benefits. “We have, basically, three jobs open paying over $50,000 a year for every person on unemployment,” he said.

Over the past four years, 44 companies have moved their operations from the coast to Ohio. He explained they found it was less expensive to do business in Ohio. However, that wasn’t always the case.

Husted said in the 1990s Ohio wasn’t a very good state to do business. Previous governors, starting with George Voinovich, and the legislature went to work to make Ohio more attractive. They began to overhaul the Bureau of Workers Compensation, which last year reimbursed Ohio’s businesses to the tune of $9 billion. The state has passed tort reform, tax form and eliminated the “death tax.”

More recently, the state has concentrated on workforce development and getting workers the skills they need. He pointed out that Ohio has several characteristics employers are looking for, which is a good work ethic and value system. In recent years, there has been a push to keep young people in Ohio and educational systems are helping in that area. “Through local high schools and career centers, businesses are doing a better job of engaging early on for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs,” said Husted. He added that he recently visited the Upper Valley Career Tech Center and learned its senior class earned over $1.5 million by working.

Ohio is also working on some of the ancillary issues that affect the workforce, including mental heatlh resources and providing tools to help individuals get off of public assistance.

The Darke County Chamber of Commerce also presented its first Future Leaders Scholarship at the annual event. State Representative Jena Powell presented this year’s award to Grant Beasley, a senior at Versailles High School. The scholarship is presented to a Darke County student that will attend a two- or four-year college or university or a tech school. The students were nominated by their school’s staff. When introducing Beasley, Powell pointed to his “unique ability to encourage and promote individual success and achievement” for the reason he was qualified to earn the award.

Beasley plans on attending Bluffton University and majoring in history education. He will be participating in cross country and track and field while there.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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