The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Workforce develop. top priority

Editor’s note: This is the second of three columns on economic development by Ohio Representative Craig Riedel.

In my last column, I discussed the importance of workforce and business development in Ohio, especially in the 82nd House District. A lot of progress has been made-both through a key partnership with JobsOhio and business-friendly policies and tax reforms. Despite these steps forward, there are still a number of challenges our state faces in filling jobs and boosting our business environment.

Craig Riedel

Perhaps the most pressing concern is the opioid epidemic that continues to ravage our communities. Not only does it tear apart families and take lives, but it also leaves a workforce scrambling to find employees that can pass a drug test and show up consistently for work. For many in-demand fields like manufacturing, mechanical engineering, and other labor-intensive positions, the opioid crisis threatens workplace safety, which can have devastating effects on business growth.

On top of this issue, many employers struggle to find skilled workers for the jobs that are currently available. With a boon in technological advancements, companies need employees with experience in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, but enough people just aren’t available. In addition to work done at the state level to better connect educational opportunities to the business community, many companies have taken steps to create their own training programs.

Ohio must also compete with other states within the region, particularly the five states which it borders. This has a significant impact on the 82nd House District, as three of its counties directly border Indiana. Certain differences in tax policy or other initiatives from state-to-state can have a major effect on local businesses, as it is just as convenient to make big purchases in Indiana-which does not collect a local sales tax-as it is in Ohio.

In the past several years, the legislature has made many positive changes to combat these obstacles facing our workforce and the growth of our businesses. It is clear that more must be done, and I’ve taken on the challenge to research workforce development and encourage policies that get our communities back to work in fulfilling careers. In my final column of this series, I’ll be discussing the legislation I’ve been working on to strengthen Ohio’s employers and employees.

–State Representative Craig Riedel

POSTED: 11/01/17 at 6:40 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions