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Government Spotlight | September 13, 2022

September 13th, 2022

State Leaders Seek ARPA Funds for Affordable Housing

Leaders of a number of business, real estate and housing groups sent a letter to state and legislative leaders calling for a portion of Ohio’s remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to be used to address affordable housing. The letter sent to was signed by the Ohio Housing Council, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Realtors, the Ohio Bankers’ League and the Ohio Apartment Association and sent to Gov. Mike DeWine, Senate President Matt Huffman, House Speaker Bob Cupp, and members of the Ohio General Assembly. ARPA funds can be used to finance, develop, repair or operate any rental unit that provides affordability of 20 years or more to households at or below 65 percent of local median income; expands presumptively eligible uses for affordable housing; and increases flexibility to use ARPA funds to fully finance long-term affordable housing loans.

Ohio Joins 33-State Settlement with JUUL Labs

Ohio is joining a 33-state settlement with JUUL Labs over claims it marketed fun-flavored e-cigarettes to children. The $439 million deal follows a two-year investigation of the San Francisco-based company and a dispute with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over a possible ban on its products. Led by Texas, Connecticut and Oregon, the investigation found JUUL “relentlessly” targeted children with e-cigarette launch parties, advertisements with young, trendy-looking models and influencers, social-media posts and free samples.

ODOT’s Local Major Bridge Program

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is now accepting applications for funding as part of the Local Major Bridge Program, which provides federal funds to counties and municipalities for bridge replacement, bridge rehabilitation and bridge demolition projects. More locally-owned bridges would be eligible for funding as part of the program. Modified program requirements opened eligibility to 238 bridges, up from 54. During the current funding cycle, the program will pay up to 95 percent of the construction and engineering costs for major bridge projects, with a cap of $20 million.

Helping Ohioans Pursue Employment (HOPE) Initiative

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) kicked off National Workforce Development Month by announcing a new outreach effort to help unemployed Ohioans quickly find new jobs. Through the Helping Ohioans Pursue Employment (HOPE) initiative, the department now emails unemployment applicants extensive information about the free in-person, employment services available at the state’s 88 OhioMeansJobs Centers, in addition to the self-service features available at OhioMeansJobs.com.

Styling for Democracy. Now Vote!” initiative

Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced the re-launch of the “Styling for Democracy. Now Vote!” initiative that he started in 2020 to get more Ohioans registered to vote and to recruit more poll workers. The partnership works with barbershops, salons, and barber schools to encourage members of their community to sign up to be poll workers, register their family and friends to vote, and educate the community on the multiple ways to vote. Barbershops and salons looking to partner with LaRose on the initiative may contact Henry Curtis at hcurtis@ohiosos.gov.

Broadband Infrastructure Training Program

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced a newly designed “Broadband Infrastructure Training Program” at Buckeye Hills Career Center in Rio Grande. The program will train Ohioans to help with the buildout of the state’s broadband expansion. Students will go through an approximately 12-week interactive learning journey that includes the design, installation and service components of broadband networks.

Intel Hiring Management and Engineering Positions

Intel is hiring experienced professionals for management and engineering positions at its New Albany factory, mostly in terms of facilities and site services. Some positions involve temporarily relocating to Arizona or another site for training assignments lasting from six months to one year. Management roles include site operations and commissioning, as well as project manager roles. There are also openings for chemical, mechanical, electrical and manufacturing network engineers. The full list, which is subject to change, is available at https://tinyurl.com/mr2zb8px.

Ohio Business Sponsor-A-Highway Program

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced this week a new litter control program that brings in the business community to help in the effort. Over the past few weeks, the first signage related to the Sponsor-A-Highway program has been installed along highways in the northeast Ohio area. The statewide program allows businesses and groups to fund litter removal services along one mile, one-direction segments of state highways. In exchange for their sponsorship, the name of the business or group is displayed on a sign within their sponsored segment. The program complements ODOT’s existing Adopt-A-Highway program, where volunteer groups adopt a two-mile segment of two-lane highway.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Program

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced it will host five (5) regional forums in Columbus, Parma, Oregon, Cincinnati and New Philadelphia to help small businesses earn tax credits through the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program. The WOTC offers incentives for companies to hire individuals “from targeted groups, including veterans, public assistance recipients, restored citizens, individuals with disabilities and others,” according to ODJFS. The tax credits range from $2,400 to $9,600 depending on the group. ODJFS has certified over 100,000 WOTC applications since October 2021 and thousands of Ohio employers have received more than $240 million in tax credits. Attendance is free but space is limited; Email CL.SL.Area.3@irs.gov to register.

dez bryant
Dez Bryant
Vice President of Government Relations
dezbryant@columbus.org