Ohio Jobs Officials Await Obama Address

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The state's new job creation board, JobsOhio, looks to boost employment.
The state's new job creation board, JobsOhio, looks to boost employment.

While President Barack Obama prepares to address congress tonight on his plan to promote job growth, Central Ohio business groups are now working more closely to reverse recent job losses.

Ohio’s job engine stalled earlier this decade

“We have lost over 400-thousand jobs in the past four or five years,” says Mark Kvamme, the Chief Investment Officer of the state’s new semi-private job board JobsOhio. At a meeting of central Ohio business interest groups, Kvamme outlined a new plan to bring employers to the state.

“The status quo, the way things have been done in the past is not working. Oh, and by the way, its not working on a national level, its not working on a state level, its not working on a municipal level. we’ve got to make changes,” Kvamme says.

Kvamme says JobsOhio will now use leads from regional chambers of commerce to attract new business.

While JobsOhio does not control tax incentives offered by individual cities or suburbs, it will jawbone competing local governments to give potential employers the best deal. Business recruitment groups, such as Columbus 2020, will get $2.5 million in state grants to dovetail its business recruitment program with Jobs Ohio. Columbus 2020 executive Kenny McDonald says the state funds will be used, in part, to add staff and meet more often with regional job development officers.

“We think there’s so much change going on in Ohio, in our region, in the economy that it requires three to four hours every month,” McDonald says.

McDonald says Columbus 2020 will help negotiate state loans and grants with businesses in an eleven county region surrounding Columbus.