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Unemployment Help: Cuyahoga County Pilots Ohio To Work Program To Connect Workers With Jobs

Governor DeWine tapped Cuyahoga County to pilot a program aimed at helping workers connect with employers and provide training.  [Pixsooz / Shutterstock]
Governor DeWine tapped Cuyahoga County to pilot a program aimed at helping workers connect with employers and provide training. [Pixsooz / Shutterstock]

The coronavirus pandemic created not just a public health crisis but an economic one, as well.

Millions of Americans lost their jobs as the pandemic shut down portions of the economy to reduce the spread of the virus. Hard-hit economic sectors included restaurants as well as travel and hospitality-oriented businesses. As the economy reopened people were called back to work – but not everyone.

Unemployment remains high and here in Ohio, Cuyahoga County ranks as the hardest hit, with nearly 13 percent of people out of work.

Earlier this month, Gov. Mike DeWine announced an Ohio to Work pilot program to be launched here to help displaced workers. The program seeks to amplify existing resources to better connect workers to employers. It also aims to provide training to workers to help them re-skill or increase their skills to compete for jobs that are available now.

We discuss the new pilot program on The Sound of Ideas Thursday, with two of the partner organizations involved in its launch.

But first, House Bill 6 – also called the nuclear bailout bill – remains on the books in Ohio despite calls for its repeal and replacement. The repeal effort began after a bribery investigation launched in July and led to the arrest of then-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder. Investigators allege Householder and four others accepted bribes to pass the bailout bill.  All have denied wrongdoing.

Surcharges to Ohio's electric customers created by HB6 will begin in January. But Ohio's Attorney General, Dave Yost, filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday to keep Energy Harbor – the current owner of the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear plants and a former FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary – from receiving the bailout money. 

The two plants are at the center of the legislation, but are not the entire focus of the bill and not the only recipients of the subsidies created by the surcharges to customers.  HB6 actually is an energy bill, with impacts on many industries.

Later in the program: Cleveland recently landed at the top of a list of the nation's poorest cities.

According to new census data, Cleveland is the most impoverished big city in the United States, with a poverty rate of nearly 31 percent. It displaces Detroit, which now ranks second.

The cities list, based on data collected in 2019, paints a picture of struggling Ohioans before the pandemic began. And Ohio is the only state to land two of its large cities on the list.

For More Information:

Ohio To Work web site

Ohio Means Jobs Cleveland-Cuyahoga County

Andy Chow, Statehouse News Bureau Reporter, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Frank Brickner, Interim CEO, Ohio Means Jobs|Cleveland-Cuyahoga County 
Jacob Duritsky, VP Strategy & Research, Team NEO

Emily Campbell, Associate Director, Center for Community Solutions

Kevin Kleps, Assistant Editor, Sports Business Reporter, Crain's Cleveland Business