Invest in Ohio: Nan Whaley’s 21st Century Jobs Plan

Nan Whaley

The story of America’s 20th Century is the story of Ohio. People came here for opportunity — immigrants from abroad, migrants from Appalachia and the Jim Crow South. We were home to inventors like the Wright Brothers, Garrett Morgan, and Thomas Edison, and pioneering companies like National Cash Register, Goodyear Rubber, and Republic Steel. Good, union jobs in manufacturing built our middle class and the natural resources, transportation, and supply chains supporting these industries ensured this prosperity stretched all over our state.

But for thirty years, our political leaders have allowed Ohio to fall further and further behind, choosing complacency over tough, honest conversations about the future of our state.

Ohio is at a crossroads. The world is changing — new industries and technologies are creating the good-paying jobs of the future. We can either adapt and change with it, or be left behind.

Nan is running for governor because she believes Ohio deserves better. We deserve a state where one good job is enough to provide for our families; where our kids and grandkids have opportunities; where we lead the nation in innovation.

This new Ohio can do even better than we have in the past, ensuring that the benefits of good jobs are available to everyone, no matter their race, sex, or zip code. To get there we have to be laser focused on growing the jobs of the 21st Century, supporting Ohio entrepreneurs, and raising wages for all Ohioans.

Ohio’s people are at the center of its economy — how Ohio’s people are doing around their kitchen tables each day is what matters most to Nan. That’s why Ohio’s families are at the heart of Nan’s jobs policy.

This plan lays out Nan’s vision for Ohio’s future:

  • Invest in Ohio’s Businesses: A New Ohio Business Compact
  • Invest in 21st Century Jobs: Building the Future in Ohio
  • Invest in Ohio’s Workers: Raising Wages for All Ohioans

lt is guided by these core beliefs:

  • One good job should be enough. Every Ohioan deserves the dignity of work — a job that provides opportunity for your family and kids, regardless of your zip code. You should be free to collectively bargain; have a safe workplace; receive adequate health care, paid sick and family leave; and earn a wage that pays you fairly for the important value you provide.
  • There should be ample opportunity for your kids and grandkids to build their lives anywhere in Ohio. Whether you live in a small town or a big city, in a suburb or on a farm, you deserve to have access to economic opportunity in Ohio. Ohio’s strength is in just how big and diverse our state is — we can’t afford to leave anyone behind. We need to invest in Ohio talent all across the state.
  • Ohio can lead the country in the jobs of the future. Ohio has always been a place of opportunity and innovation — of inventors and astronauts. We led the nation in the last manufacturing revolution and there’s no reason we can’t lead the next one. Ohio has the talent and the resources to once again be America’s economic powerhouse.
  • We have what it takes to rebuild our economy. Nan believes in Ohio. Our state is full of gritty entrepreneurs and resilient workers who have the skills and resources to make our state a place where everyone can thrive. But, to do so we need a governor and a government that is looking out for Ohio families, not special interests.

ln order to build an Ohio where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, Nan will focus on three key areas:

Investing in Ohio Businesses: A New Ohio Business Compact

Nan knows that a strong state requires strong businesses — both large and small — and creative entrepreneurship. Particularly as we come out of the COVID-19 crisis, we need to double down on supporting our entrepreneurs and Main Street small businesses.

Ohio businesses and their employees know better than any of us that they are the heartbeat of our state’s growing base of good jobs. Ohio’s government needs to support them if they are to create the high wage jobs of the future. To do this, Nan will create a new compact with Ohio business. The Ohio Business Compact pledges to help Ohio businesses grow if those businesses help Ohio’s workers grow, by creating and retaining good jobs that can support a family.

Invest in companies that invest in Ohio. It’s time to rethink how Ohio supports and attracts business. The Whaley Administration will invest in business in this state; all that we ask in return is that they invest in our workers. That means paying an honest wage, providing good benefits and health care, and treating them with dignity. If businesses keep their promise to the workers of Ohio, Nan promises to work with businesses to ensure their success. That’s why, under her administration, JobsOhio and the Development Services Agency will focus its investments and assistance on companies that pay a fair wage. Firms that actively oppose union organizing drives will be prohibited from receiving any state assistance, incentives, or tax abatements until they change their practices. Companies whose employees are paid so little that they qualify for Medicaid programs at Ohio taxpayer expense will be prohibited from receiving any state assistance, incentives, or tax abatements until they raise wages and benefits received by employees. Nan will make sure that the state’s investments help all Ohioans regardless of their race or zip code.

Reinvent Ohio. As Mayor, Nan has helped Dayton connect to its history of innovation. As Governor, Nan will bring that spirit to the entire state, spurring entrepreneurship. Early in her term, Nan will establish a Reinvent Ohio initiative, convening leading banks, investors, community lenders, and entrepreneurs to help guide public investment in firms and small businesses that are critical to the state’s economic future. She will work with JobsOhio, banks, and federal agencies to develop a broader variety of financing options for entrepreneurs to invest in and streamline business support organizations, make business supports more accessible, and reorient public purchasing so there are more on-ramps for entrepreneurs. Nan knows that the ingenuity of Ohio’s entrepreneurs and communities drove the state’s prosperity in the 20th Century, and that they can do it again in the 21st — but in a way that leaves no one behind.

Revitalizing Ohio communities by bringing back Main Street businesses. As a Mayor, Nan understands that shops, restaurants, and other small businesses are what make our communities vibrant. These face-to-face businesses have also suffered the most from the pandemic. Nan will convene local small business councils to maximize the use of federal and state resources to make sure that these businesses prosper in the post-pandemic economy. She will direct the Development Services Agency to redouble their efforts on making targeted commercial corridor investment in cities, towns, and villages across the state.

Investing in 21st Century Jobs: Building the Future in Ohio

Ohio led the last manufacturing revolution and there’s no reason we can’t lead the next one. We’ve always been a state of creativity and invention. Nan knows that the high-paying jobs of the future don’t all look like the old ones. She will focus on preparing for and growing the jobs of the future right here in our state, so that folks all across Ohio have the opportunity to thrive.

Focus on building a high wage, clean energy future. The economy is changing. Ohio can either adapt and prepare, or be left behind. Nan was one of the first mayors to sign on to The Marshall Plan for Middle America, an ambitious roadmap for investments that focuses on ways to generate high-quality, clean energy jobs in the Ohio Valley region and lead the nation in clean energy development. As the world turns away from a fossil-fuel economy and towards a resilient, clean energy economy, Nan believes that Ohio can lead our nation in investing in renewable energy infrastructure, supporting displaced workers as they find paths to meaningful and important jobs, and driving more equitable and sustainable economic development into the future. This includes:

  • Increasing the state’s renewable portfolio standard in a way that balances jobs and climate change goals for the state.
  • Fully repealing House Bill 6 and restoring Ohio’s renewable energy benchmarks. Because of this corrupt bill, Ohioans are paying a fee every month to bail out two failing coal plants — one of which is in Indiana — at the expense of our renewable energy industry.
  • Convene a council of industry experts to explore pathways for Ohio to lead on battery recycling and reclamation. As the world’s lithium supply dwindles, places with strong industrial histories like Ohio are well-positioned to become leaders in battery recycling.
  • Developing and implementing a statewide strategy for workers whose jobs may be impacted by fossil fuel industry contraction. We cannot leave these workers or their communities behind.
  • Targeting investments in energy efficiency, clean energy production, and zero-emissions vehicle manufacturing so they spur new businesses, generate good-paying jobs, and provide affordable electricity in all Ohio communities.

Pioneering a Reshoring Ohio Agenda. Today, many companies are aggressively reshoring capabilities to ensure access to key commodities as the pandemic and extreme weather disrupts normal supply chains. Nan will convene a council of industry and civic leaders to develop an action plan for reshoring businesses in Ohio. She believes that a key strategy for rebuilding Ohio supply chains will be facilitating collaborations that serve the state’s strong health care, logistics, and manufacturing anchor industries. Firms that benefit from state assistance will be expected to create jobs that allow workers and families stability, opportunity, and the chance to get ahead.

  • One of Nan’s first actions will be to issue a “Buy Ohio” Executive Order to assure that the state’s purchasing is only directed to Ohio businesses that pay a living wage and benefits.

Invest in Ohio talent. As we continue to build the industries of the future, workers need the skills to compete for these good jobs, whether they’re joining the workforce for the first time or making a career change. Nan will prioritize resources for post-secondary education — from career tech schools to apprenticeships to community colleges to universities — to build the talent base needed for the jobs of the future. This means Nan will:

  • Give every Ohioan the right to the education and training they need to get and keep a good paying job.
  • Establish the Reskill Ohio Challenge which will provide a prize to private-sector or nonprofit firms who develop new, effective models for connecting workers and skills.
  • Direct JobsOhio to work at the local level to strengthen connections between job training institutions, federal institutions, and business to stay ahead of the trends in a rapidly-changing economy.
  • Invest in free or discounted tuition for Ohio’s essential workers who want to complete or advance their education.

Invest in Ohio’s transitioning sectors. Nan will continue to focus investments in Ohio’s economic sectors that have been identified by experts as critical to the state’s long-term competitiveness, as well as important sectors that are undergoing significant transitions due to new technology:

  • Transportation and Trucking: Ohio builds on a deep industrial base of rail and automotive manufacturing — from R&D, to components, to assembly. Nan will make sure that the state is addressing the impact of automation on the 70,000 Ohioans who are employed in the trucking industry. She will direct JobsOhio to partner with truckers and trucking leaders to develop an Ohio economic adjustment assistance program.
  • Ohio’s Foundation in Manufacturing: Ohio’s manufacturing plants, supply chains, workforce skills, central location and transportation infrastructure make the state perfectly positioned to rebuild eroded domestic capabilities. Nan will work to bring investments to Ohio as domestic manufacturing capabilities are rebuilt and supply chains re-shored for the purposes of national defense. Her administration will link existing Ohio suppliers to emerging on-shore production needs, providing retooling and re-skilling assistance to facilitate the process.
  • Ohio’s Caring Sector: Like states across the country, Ohio has seen huge growth in “care” professions such as home health aides, childcare providers, and nursing home employees. Supporting these vital professions is critical to making Ohio a place where everyone can thrive. They deserve good pay, adequate staffing levels, and safe workplaces. Ohio’s long track record of investment in advanced medicine positions the state to develop and on-shore public health infrastructure that is critical to American competitiveness. Nan’s administration will work to secure investments for Ohio’s important health care technology corridors in Cleveland and Columbus, in addition to making “accelerator” investments in healthcare in promising clusters around the state, driving jobs and new businesses throughout Ohio.

Investing ln Ohio Workers: Raising Wages for all Ohioans

Dignity at work begins with good pay. Wages need to go up across the board in Ohio and Nan will use the full influence of the Governor’s office to encourage companies to raise wages. ln addition to only rewarding companies that pay fair wages, Nan will support a variety of policies that raise wages for all Ohioans, regardless of what their job is or where they work. That includes:

Raising the Minimum Wage. Nan will support legislation to raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. If legislation fails, she will promote a ballot issue to get the job done and require anyone who contracts with the state to pay this wage. The evidence is clear that raising the minimum wage helps increase wages for all workers.

Supporting Union Jobs. Nan will support workers’ rights to collectively bargain to ensure essential labor protections and pathways to economic mobility, prosperity, and wealth. Nan will allow Project Labor Agreements to be used on projects utilizing state funds. Not only do PLAs benefit local workers and businesses, but they also ensure projects are completed on time and within budget. She will also explore PLAs use in promoting equity by requiring employee training and apprenticeship pipelines that include women and underrepresented communities, to ensure diversity and local hiring on the jobsite.

Cracking down on wage theft, misclassification, and non-compete agreements. Nan knows that workers need a fair shot at a good job. She will strengthen Ohio’s legal protections against wage theft, increase penalties for violators, crack down on employee misclassification, bolster enforcement capacity at the Ohio Department of Commerce, and protect workers from retaliation when violations are reported. Nan will support legislation to ban non-compete agreements in Ohio so that workers have more power and can more easily get new jobs.

Helping struggling Ohio families at the “kitchen table” by lowering health care, transit, and childcare costs. Early in her administration, Nan will host a “Kitchen Table Summit” that brings together businesses, government, and nonprofits to develop a set of strategies for lowering costs and getting more money back into the pockets of Ohioans around the state, including access to childcare, public transit, and health care.

[1] Nan recognizes that other vital policy areas also impact our state’s ability to maintain and grow good jobs. ln the coming months, she will also release policy plans outlining her vision for education, childcare, paid leave, transit, and many others.

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