Two local manufacturing companies hosted VIP tours Wednesday [February 22, 2012] that underscored calls for reforming and improving work force training in Ohio.
The visits are amid revelations that up to 80,000 jobs in Ohio are going unfilled because workers aren’t qualified, despite prolonged high state and national unemployment.
Gov. John Kasich has said the state’s work force training system is in “total breakdown,” and is fragmented by being spread into 77 programs across 13 agencies, all depending on various state and federal funding sources. Kasich’s made a priority of overhauling the system.
Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis began a three-day “Community College to Career” bus tour in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina focused on community college training.
Biden toured production at device maker DG Medical, 900 Dimco Way, in Centerville with Sinclair Community College representatives.
Bill Tacon of bioscience industry group BioOhio accompanied Biden and Solis. He said the industry in Ohio is growing. A monthly survey shows 1,500 open positions. Training at the community college level for jobs starting at $14 to $20 an hour is solid, he said. Traditional four-year institutions haven’t kept up, however.
The industry has problems filling positions in regulatory compliance and quality control that pay around $80,000 a year and is forced to look out of state for candidates, Tacon said. “One of our objectives is to get some of our institutions of higher ed to start degree programs in this area.” Indiana’s Purdue University has a program, he added.
On Wednesday morning, manufacturer Starwin Industries, 3387 Woodman Drive in Kettering, hosted Montgomery County Commissioners Dan Foley, Debborah Lieberman and Judy Dodge. Starwin, a contractor in the defense and aerospace industry, is hiring, said President Rick Little. Today’s manufacturing industry is battling outdated perceptions, he said, and a de-emphasis on industrial careers by K-12 education. But starting pay tops $50,000 for high-skilled and trained problem-solvers in mechanical and industrial arts.
Lieberman said commissioners are working to fix major disconnects between the needs of the Dayton regional job market and training paid for with state and federal dollars.
This article reprinted with permission from the Dayton Daily News; written by Steve Bennish, Staff Writer. To see the original version of this article here