COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. John Kasich said Monday that improving the state's job training system will depend in part on winning support from businesses and convincing them participating in the job programs is worth it.
Kasich's remarks came after the first meeting of a state board that's studying Ohio's workforce development system. The 25-member panel is looking at ways to measure the effectiveness of programs and better tailor state and federal training money to the skill needs of companies.
Ohio has roughly 90 existing workforce programs spread under at least 13 state agencies, according to the Kasich administration. Some training programs help veterans, while others are aimed at preparing prisoners for work after they've served their sentences.
Kasich wants to streamline the workforce system so companies can more easily navigate the programs.
"You have to get businesses comfortable with the notion that participating in this will be a good thing," Kasich told reporters. "Because they're like, 'You're from the government, and you're here to help us? What, are you kidding? Go away.'"
The Republican governor pointed to some successes with business sectors, such as a training program that prepares college students to work in Ohio's developing oil and natural gas industry.
"We can have our one-off wins, but I would just like to scale this across the board," Kasich said.
The Kasich administration has said the state's existing workforce development system is failing to help the unemployed, underemployed and incumbent workforce get the job training they need to improve their lives in the emerging economic recovery.
The state's unemployment rate remains below the national rate. Seasonally adjusted joblessness in Ohio was 6.9 percent in October, compared with the national rate, which ticked up to 7.9 percent in October.
Monday marked the inaugural gathering of the Governor's Executive Workforce Board, which was appointed in September. The majority of its members represent private-industry business, though state lawmakers, local government representatives and others have seats at the table.
The board's duties include reviewing education, employment and economic conditions and trends. The members also will provide guidance to the governor's office on funding job programs and aligning training resources.
The administration estimates that about $2 billion in state and federal money is spent each budget year on workforce training in Ohio.
Kasich's office on Monday pointed to five steps it plans to take to improve the workforce development system, which included encouraging the use of one website to steer job seekers and marketing and branding efforts around the website.