Marcia Bailey, director of Champaign Economic Partnership, and Angela Hayes, human resources generalist at Rittal Corporation in Urbana, traveled to Washington, D.C., where they urged Ohio legislators to vote for bills that will help provide the skilled workforce employers need for in-demand positions.
Dr. Amit Singh, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs of Clark State Community College, invited them to join him at Business Leaders United’s Business and Education Leaders Fly-in.
They and other business and education leaders from across the country met with their representatives. Bailey, Angela Hayes of Rittal, Singh and others from Ohio met with U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, Mike Turner, Jim Renacci and Warren Davidson, and U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown.
The legislation they promoted include the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students) Act and the PROSPER (Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform) Act.
“Since both of our senators, Portman and Brown, are cosponsors of the JOBS Act, this was a nice opportunity to thank them for their support and bipartisan collaboration on policy that will help more workers and businesses in Ohio get the skills and workforce they need,” Bailey said.
The legislation is designed to help solve the current workforce shortage faced by employers in Champaign County and across the country. These bills would expand the Pell Grant program to help students pay for short-term, occupationally focused training at community colleges and other postsecondary institutions.
“The legislation will promote business-education partnerships to create training programs aligned to the needs of employers and changing technology in the workplace – and make it easier and more affordable for students to take advantage of these opportunities,” she said.
In their meetings with legislators and their staffs, Bailey and Hayes shared how the workforce shortage impacts Champaign County and how it’s being addressed. Bailey shared that ORBIS Corporation in Urbana is paying for Triad High School graduate Zack Zizzo to complete the two-year mechanical engineering technology program at Clark State while he works at ORBIS (covered in Fall 2017 edition of CEP newsletter).
Hayes talked about her difficulty finding qualified candidates for skilled positions and the need for affordable welding training.
“We’re very grateful to Dr. Singh for inviting us and to our legislators and their staff members for taking time to meet with us,” Bailey said. “They all seemed very supportive of the legislation and how it will help solve the workforce shortage and boost our local and national economy.”
Submitted by Champaign Economic Partnership.