U.S. Senator Rob Portman was in Dayton on Wednesday to meet with more than 20 local business leaders and state legislators about workforce development. Portman is promoting a number of measures aimed at connecting highly skilled workers with open jobs around the state.
Portman told the gathering that the workforce development gap is one of the biggest issues facing businesses across Ohio.
As co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, Portman is supporting a bipartisan jobs bill moving through the legislature. The bill would expand eligibility for the federal Pell Grant program. The expansion would cover high-quality and short-term job training programs for lower income families.
“They are great jobs manufacturing right now and they normally have decent pay but good benefits and so for a lot of young people it's a great opportunity,” Portman said.
Portman says filling the state’s growing number of manufacturing jobs will help companies produce more goods and expand.
Some business leaders expressed their thanks to Portman for helping pass last year’s tax reform bill which, they say, has allowed them to expand their operations. The manufacturers also expressed concerns over the impact of Trump administration trade policies.
“Boy, you get an escalation of those tariffs, it’s bad for everybody, particularly at the end for consumers in America. So, my hope is that we can stick to this fairness doctrine, stick to having to prove that there's something unfair that there's a temporary relief because of a surge or because there's a damage to an American industry.”
Roundtable participants also relayed to the senator how the opioid crisis has affected their businesses and added to a shortage of workers.
The afternoon roundtable was one stop for a national State of Manufacturing Tour sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), largest manufacturing association in the U.S., representing small and large manufacturers.