Gov. Kasich says automation will force Ohioans from current jobs

Ohio Gov. John Kasich discusses the future of Ohio’s workforce on Oct. 23, 2018. Photo by Laura A Bischoff
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich discusses the future of Ohio’s workforce on Oct. 23, 2018. Photo by Laura A Bischoff

Governor said workers will need re-training to stay in the workforce.

Gov. John Kasich predicted that emerging technologies and automation will force Ohio workers out of their current jobs but it doesn’t mean they will be jobless if they are re-trained for future in-demand jobs.

“I’m a big change guy. That’s what I’m really interested in. Change. Disruption. That’s where I believe you have be to be youthful, be exciting, to have energy,” Kasich said Tuesday at Devol’s Dance, a conference on smart robotics, artificial intelligence and automation named after George Devol, an inventor who developed early robots used in industrial production work.

Kasich, who leaves office at the beginning of January after eight years as governor, said he hopes his successor will “be a risk taker, be a change agent. It’s too easy to get in these jobs and just sit there.”

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The governor told tech executives that he was frustrated that Ohio universities don’t do a better job of commercializing their research and that some government institutions, such as the Federal Aviation Administration, don’t respond quickly to new technologies, such as drones.

“There are just some things you can’t change until you begin to see a crack in the obstinacy of people,” he said. Kasich encouraged business leaders to embrace change.

"We have to look for ways around the structure that says 'no.' We gotta figure out how to fight the man, you know what I mean?" said Kasich, who as a college student at Ohio State wrote a fan letter to Richard Nixon.

“I spent my whole career trying to figure out how to get over the wall and burn the city to the ground. Now I’m running the city. And I figured out that now I’m in a position to bring about more change,” he said.

Kasich, now 66, has been in public office almost continuously since 1979.

Related: Who is John Kasich?

The sponsors of the conference include Battelle, Huntington Bank, Ohio State University and Drive Capital, a venture fund founded by Kasich’s long-time friend and ally Mark Kvamme. The speakers included entrepreneurs, academics, logistics experts, auto industry leaders and others, including some funded by Drive Capital.

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He noted that early in his tenure, he was able to push through policy changes.

“I would say for the first seven years it was incredible…In the last year it has gotten more political and it’s been more frustrating. So I’ve used executive orders to pass through the things I’ve wanted to get done,” he said. “Because I’m not ready to give up — ever.”