When I think back to where Ohio was when I became the Speaker of the House in January 2011, it is hard for me to believe all the legislation we have enacted and how much progress Ohio has made. Even though our state seems to be headed in the right direction, step-by-step we are continuing to take the path we need to be on, and we will continue to do so in the future.
Ohio’s unemployment rate stands at seven percent today—down more than two points since January 2011. Tens of thousands of jobs have been created, and we remain well below the national jobless rate. That is something to be proud of, but we all want more Ohioans to be employed.
I and other members of the House are constantly talking with our constituents, business groups, and others to see how we can assist more Ohio workers in finding the jobs they need. Whether it be through the very successful JobsOhio entity, bringing new industry to our state through commonsense regulation, or assisting in workforce development programs, we remain committed to the task at hand.
This past week, the House passed additional pieces of legislation that will help the under and unemployed in our state. House Bills 1 and 2—two priority pieces of legislation for the current General Assembly—are very closely related to the job-searching website of OhioMeansJobs.com, which I know many people in the 69th House District are familiar with.
House Bill 1 will make it easier for Ohioans to find work because it streamlines the workforce development efforts that Ohio has already put in place. With workforce development centers around the state—most commonly known as One-Stops—many job-seekers are not sure where to turn to and do not want to duplicate their efforts. Through this legislation, we are rebranding and renaming these offices. Our local office will be “Ohio Means Jobs Medina County.” Having “Ohio Means Jobs” in every office’s name will ensure consistency and reduce confusion, and it also ties them directly to OhioMeansJobs.com.
House Bill 2 requires that people who are applying for unemployment insurance register with OhioMeansJobs.com before applying for benefits. Additionally, they are to make direct contact with what will soon be their local “Ohio Means Jobs” office by the eighth week of unemployment.
The vast majority of us know someone who is or was unemployed and looking for a job. We know that in this situation they are looking for all the help they can get in order to find work. I believe that the State of Ohio should be assisting them in that respect. These intertwined House bills will help them maximize and take advantage of the resources available to them in finding employment. The bills passed with strong support from both sides of the aisle.
If you were to read the statistics from OhioMeansJobs.com, I’m sure you would come away with the full realization of what an asset Ohio Means Jobs is to helping Ohioans find work. Just last year, there were well over 54 million searches on the website from more than 2.7 million visitors. With 11.5 million people residing in Ohio, it is easy to see what a valuable resource this has become in recent years.
If Ohioans are to find work, we must continue to take advantage of every avenue available to us. The members of the Ohio House recognize this and are constantly in search of more ideas for getting people back to work. If you have your own idea for helping Ohio’s unemployed, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. When more Ohioans have the financial security of a good job, our whole state benefits.