The governor recently initiated the Office of Workforce Transformation with a goal to streamline federal and state programs and give easier access to businesses and the workforce.
Some of the areas of concentration for the board are to determine the needs of businesses, align workforce programs and reform career development training beginning in kindergarten and continuing through four-year colleges.
According to Beagle, member of the Executive Workforce Board, a survey released in a sample area that tried to determine the needs of businesses did not go over very well. The board will continue its efforts in this area, but will also glean as much information as possible from the Department of Labor statistics to determine where the needs are and the shape of future employment.
One of the major components in making workforce development work is reforming career development training. Education will be the focus, but achieving this will require a partnership with the private sector and schools.
Beagle pointed out more and more jobs require post secondary education, but the key is to have industries recognize the value of real life work experience as well as education.
Some of this could be accomplished through a program such as WorkKeys®, a standardized assessment program. High school students would receive an assessment on what they know and would come out with career credentialing. Employers would be able to match up the skills they are searching for with the assessment.
The Ohio Senate and House may also be looking at legislation in the near future to further workforce development. Beagle noted it may soon be required for a person accepting unemployment insurance to put their resume on www.ohioneedsjobs.com. The website would be a portal for employers to identify prospective employees by matching their skills with available positions. Also proposed is legislation that would require a person that has been on unemployment for eight-weeks to have contact with Job & Family Services to help develop skills needed in the workforce.
To help train workers, Ohio’s government leaders are examining the possibility of establishing a revolving loan fund for unemployed workers. The one-time fees paid by casinos would provide the capital for the program and the loan would help prospective employees finish training. Once the training is complete and the person is hired, the money would be paid back. Beagle hopes businesses will become a partner in this program by helping select individuals and help share in the pay back.