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  ·   By Kara Driscoll, Dayton Daily News   ·  Link to Article

Ohio business owners urging Trump administration to support job growth

Ohio business leaders are urging the incoming Trump administration to support “middle-skill jobs,” which are vital to major industries in the Dayton area.

An Ohio delegation will join the Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU), a national coalition of employers form a range of industries, in Washington D.C. this week. The group works to address the skills gap in the U.S. workforce.

“Middle-skill” jobs require more than a high school degree, but not a bachelor’s degree. They are critical to the steadiness of the Dayton and state economy. Local businesses are working with higher education leaders to address the skilled workforce issue in the Miami Valley.

“In Ohio, we have a skills gap that really hinders businesses that hire for middle-skill jobs” says Dwight Dinsmore, a specialist for StandardAero Component Services. “If businesses in Ohio and across the country are going to succeed, we need a strategy to ensure we have the highly skilled workforce we need to compete.”

Only 48 percent of the state’s workers are trained to a middle-skill level, according to BLU. Nationwide, employers are working with community colleges, labor unions and governments to train and hire for industries like manufacturing, trucking and some technology jobs.

In D.C. this week, BLU employers will meet with local Congress members and with the incoming administration to call for policies that support the growth of a skilled workforce. These efforts include:

• Investing in partnerships between local industry and community colleges (through reauthorization of the Perkins Act)

• Making financial aid more job-driven by extending Pell grants to people who want to complete in-demand short term occupational training programs (through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act)

• Supporting apprenticeship

Dayton leaders have expressed concern over finding skilled workers for growing companies in the area. Montgomery County, in partnership with several community partners, unveiled on Wednesday its new “one-stop operation” that will help business expansion in the Miami Valley.

The Montgomery County Business Solutions Center, located in a suite at 1435 Cincinnati St., will provide free workforce and strategic development services in one location. The services were previously spread across a variety of sites through different entities.

“This is our time to stand up and take control of how we help businesses,” Mark Anderson, communications coordinator for the center, told this newspaper in October.

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