Chamber News

Government Spotlight | February 14, 2023

February 14th, 2023

The Ohio Business Roundtable’s Ohio Grants Alliance 

The Ohio Business Roundtable (OBRT) announced the formation of the Ohio Grants Alliance (OGA) in partnership with regional business associations across the state. The OGA will “research, identify and promote competitive grant opportunities to Ohio’s business, educational, charitable and economic development communities in order to make Ohio more competitive. Led by Executive Director Michael McLean, formerly OBRT vice president of policy, it will also support applications and help win more grants that transform all communities in the state. Part of OGA’s work will be to facilitate cross-regional coalitions.

Nation Adds 517,000 Payroll Jobs in January 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that the nation added 517,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in January, while the federal unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent, the lowest it has been since 1969. The unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in December. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.2 percent), adult women (3.1 percent), teenagers (10.3 percent), Whites (3.1 percent), Blacks (5.4 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.5 percent) showed little change in January. The number of persons jobless in less than five weeks decreased to 1.9 million in January. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.1 million. The long-term unemployed accounted for 19.4 percent of the total unemployed in January.

State Legislation Allows Younger Minors to Work After 7 PM

The Ohio Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee heard sponsor testimony last week on Sen. Tim Schaffer’s (R-Lancaster) bill to allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work after 7 p.m. during the school year, as well as his concurrent resolution urging Congress to make similar changes in federal law.

Ohio Rail Development Commission Applying for Federal Funds

Gov. Mike DeWine is directing the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) to apply for the first phase of federal funding to study expanding passenger rail service in Ohio. The funding will come from the Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor Identification and Development program, which assists states in assessing potential intercity passenger rail corridors. Ohio has until Monday, March 27, to submit its application. Ohio is considering two corridors: Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati and Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit. If the application is successful, the Federal Railroad Administration would provide $500,000 per corridor. The funds would allow Ohio to bring in a consultant to prepare a scope of work for a service development plan, a comprehensive plan that includes information about the track improvements, equipment, stations, and other facilities, operating costs, ridership, and required state subsidy needed to start service.

Dez Bryant
Vice President of Government Relations