However, because manufacturing is such an important driver of our economy, we can’t lose sight of new policies and programs that will be a driving force in making Ohio an attractive place for manufacturers to do business in the years to come. With the increased use of technology like artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, and virtual reality (VR), Ohio is going to need to remain future-focused to stay competitive. Because automobile manufacturers are such a large segment of Ohio’s economy and workforce, it would be wise to consider steps to encourage the buildout and transformation of Ohio’s vehicle manufacturing to account for the move to electric vehicle (EV) production with investment in EV infrastructure, additional consumer credits and retooling incentives.
We also need to make certain we are making Ohio attractive for new manufacturers to move here. We won’t be able to get new companies to locate in Ohio without the necessary infrastructure. That includes roads, broadband and natural gas lines. We need to ensure we are being aggressive in staying on top of these priorities, making it easy for companies to choose Ohio over our neighboring states.
Finally, as I travel around the state to visit our member companies, one of the main issues I hear over and over again is workforce, including workforce shortages. Today, we have more open jobs in Ohio than we have people applying for the positions. There needs to be a concerted effort to encourage workers, across all sectors to move to Ohio. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is working on a public-private partnership that would provide incentives and targeted marketing to encourage people to move here.
As a state there is so much working in our favor, we have a low cost of living and a high quality of life. Historically, our state leaders have positioned Ohio to attract manufacturers to our state. However, we can’t become complacent, we need to remain future focused to set ourselves up for success in the decades to come.
Steve Stivers is the president & CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. As the state’s leading business advocate and resource, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce aggressively champions free enterprise, economic competitiveness and growth for the benefit of all Ohio businesses.